ECB study shows frequent cash usage at POS

Wednesday 11 January 2023 15:22 CET | News

The European Central Bank (ECB) has released a study on the payment attitudes of consumers that shows cash is the most frequent payment method used at POS.


The research analyses consumer behaviour in the euro area and highlights that although cash remains the most prevalent means of payment at POS, its usage is declining.

Report findings on payment method preferences

ECB’s study showcases that throughout 2022, cash represented a 59% of POS transactions, a decline from the 72% reported in 2019, having been the most predominant payment method when carrying out small-value in-store payments and person-to-person transactions.

When talking about the measurement of POS transactions in terms of value, the card transactions’ share in 2022 was reported at 46%, a first time increase in usage compared to cash transactions, which were reported as having a share of 42%. 

In comparison, the share of cash transactions by value was 47% in 2019, whereas the equivalent share of card transactions was 43%.

In regard to mobile phone apps usage for making payments, an increase in frequency has ben noticed, however their share in total POS payments was still below those of cash and card payments. During 2022, mobile payments accounted for 3% of the number of transactions, as opposed to the 1% reported in 2019.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has released a study on the payment attitudes of consumers that shows cash is the most frequent payment method used at POS.

Furthermore, the research shows that a majority of consumers (60%) consider it important to have cash as a payment option. This preference is backed by the fact that they consider it helpful to remain aware of their expenditures, to have their privacy protected and to enable immediate settlement of transactions. Largely speaking, consumers are satisfied with their access to cash, a wide majority from most countries finding it easy to go to either an ATM or a bank for cash withdrawal. 

Concomitantly, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend towards electronic means of payments has accelerated, and an increased number of consumers have a preference towards the usage of electronic payment methods. In 2022, the share of online purchases of all euro area daily transactions has increased to 17%, up from 6% in 2019.

When looking at purchases at POS, the share of card payments has seen a 9% increase, reaching 34% in 2022, with contactless payments comprising the majority of card payments.

When looking at cards, their perceived advantage is that they are considered faster and easier to use, and they also reduce the need for carrying large amounts of cash. For larger payments, cards are the most frequently used payment method, thus accounting for a higher share of payments than cash in terms of value.

ECB is looking to ensure that consumers have freedom of choice when deciding how to pay. Following this research, the institution has seen confirmation that there is a strong demand for both cash and digital payments. Its commitment to cash and ongoing work on a digital euro aims to guarantee that paying with public money remains an option.

Research methodology

Data for the research was collected through a survey of a random population sample, with ECB having coordinated the data collection in 17 euro-area countries, and market research company Kantar Public having been responsible for data collection. 

A 50% of interview collection was done through computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) and 50% through computer-assisted web interviews (CAWI). The total sample size achieved in these countries was 39,765 respondents.

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Keywords: research, payments , payment methods, cash, mobile payments, online payments, POS, contactless payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: European Central Bank
Countries: Europe
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Payments & Commerce

European Central Bank

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