With 72 percent of purchases, cash is still a king: ECB


Cash is still the most widely used payment method in the European Union, according to the European Central Bank (ECB). Almost sixty percent of purchases in shops and restaurants, among others, were settled with cash. Furthermore, sixty percent of the Europeans surveyed consider it important to have the choice to pay with cash.

The share of cash decreased by thirteen percent compared to 2019 last year. At that time, cash accounted for 72 percent of all transactions compared to 59 percent last year. In the Netherlands, according to the ECB, cash was still used in 21 percent of transactions last year. In Finland alone, this is 19% lower. In Malta and Slovenia, cash is the most common method of payment, accounting for 77% and 73% of purchases, respectively.

According to the ECB, the decline in cash use can probably be explained by the fact that payment behaviour that was “learned” during the corona pandemic has stuck. Nevertheless, most Europeans find it important that they can continue to pay with cash. The reason that many people find cash important is because of anonymity, the protection of privacy and that it makes people more aware of their expenses.

“As cash is widely used and valued, we will be committed to preserving and making euro cash available,” the ECB said. The regulator states that it is important to monitor the trends in the payment behaviour of Europeans. “Given our responsibility for issuing public money (currently in the form of cash, and possibly in the future in the form of a digital euro) and promoting the smooth functioning of payment systems.”