BearingPoint survey: Cash is the most used payment method in Europe

Thursday 7 December 2023 15:03 CET | News

BearingPoint has conducted a survey in seven European countries, concluding that cash is the most used payment method overall and contactless debit cards come second.


BearingPoint has conducted a survey in seven European countries, concluding that cash is the most used payment method overall and contactless debit cards come second.

Cash is widespread in German-speaking countries

BearingPoint’s survey has found that cash use is significantly higher in Austria (79%) and Germany (71%) than in other European countries. Respondents from Switzerland (63%), Ireland (61%), the Netherlands (57%), and France (55%) also show a relatively high level of cash use but are well behind Germany and Austria. Finland has a significantly lower frequency of cash usage at 43%.

Cash usage also varied across the surveyed age groups. The most frequent use of cash is seen in the 55+ age group in Austria, at 86%, while Finland has one of the lowest frequencies in this age group at 39%. In general, the 55+ age group uses cash most frequently, except in Finland, where the 35-44 age group uses cash most frequently at 51%. In the 18-24 age group, Austria again tops other countries at 68%, whereas France has one of the lowest frequencies of cash usage in this age group at 37%.

Contactless debit cards are prevalent in Finland

In Finland, the contactless debit card is one of the most frequently used payment methods across all age groups at 71%, which is significantly higher than cash use. On average, the contactless debit card is the second most frequently used payment method in the countries surveyed at 56%. Cash and contactless debit cards are used almost equally frequent in France, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Compared to the other countries, the frequency of use of non-contactless debit cards is lowest in Finland at 17%, which is well below the average of 33% for the countries surveyed.

Cheques and mobile payments relevance in France and Ireland

In France, cheques remain a notable payment method, particularly among the 55+ age group, where usage is highest at 41%. While no clear preference exists among the 18-24 age group for various payment methods, cheques lag behind at 6%. Additionally, mobile payment services are more popular among younger individuals in both France and Ireland, with the 18-24 age group showing higher usage compared to the national averages. In France, contactless debit card usage is lowest in the 18-24 age group at 31%, while in Ireland, it is 40%.

Anonymity is only attributed to cash

43% of respondents attribute the characteristic of anonymity to cash, while card payments and payment services are not assigned this characteristic. With 56% of respondents, Austria is the leader in the country comparison for the anonymity characteristic of cash. Contactless cards are rated as fast by 64% and as convenient by 57% of respondents on average, putting them above the other payment methods surveyed. Regarding contactless cards, 74% of respondents in Finland agree with the characteristic of fast, and 69% agree that they are convenient, while in Germany, only 54% agree with fast, and 42% agree that they are convenient.

Country-specific digital payment methods are preferred amongst individuals

Austria and France predominantly rely on traditional payment methods such as cash and bank transfers, with 64% favouring cash in Austria and 64% opting for bank transfers in France for private individual payments. In the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Ireland, individual digital payment providers are the primary choice for private individual payments, with rates of 69%, 62%, and 55%, respectively.

Problems and concerns with digital payment methods

Around one in two respondents had problems or concerns when using digital payment methods. In Ireland, most respondents (63%) stated they had experienced problems or concerns, whereas in Finland, only 38% had experienced either.

BearingPoint officials observe cash as the preferred payment method across all European age groups, particularly in the 18-24 age bracket. Despite this, contactless debit cards have surged in popularity during the pandemic, emerging as a widely embraced digital payment method. The survey underscores country-specific trends, particularly in the adoption of mobile payment services, thriving in regions with robust, country-specific solutions. BearingPoint envisions significant potential for a unified European mobile payment solution in the future.

More: Link

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

Keywords: payment methods, cash, contactless payments, digital payments, mobile payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: BearingPoint
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


Discover all the Company news on BearingPoint and other articles related to BearingPoint in The Paypers News, Reports, and insights on the payments and fintech industry: