ECB study: cash remains the most used payment method despite the pandemic


Today the European Central Bank (ECB) launched the second survey about the payment attitudes and behaviors of euro area citizens within the Eurosystem. The ECB collected data in 17 euro countries through a survey of a random sample of population. The final report shows the following key results (source ECB):

  1. With 59% of all transactions, cash was the most frequently used payment method at the point of sale.
  2. Even with cashless payment methods on the raise, the majority of euro area consumers considered having cash as a payment option to be important or very important.
  3. The perceived key advantages of cash were its anonymity and protection of privacy and the perception that it makes one more aware of one’s own expenses.
  4. Compared to before the outbreak of the pandemic, the majority of consumers (54%) said there had been no change in how often they use cash at physical points of sale; 31% of consumers indicated that they were using cash less often and 14% more often.
  5. Cash withdrawals were mostly made from automated teller machines (ATMs), which account for 74% of all cash withdrawals. The use of own cash reserves accounted for 11% and withdrawals over the bank counter for 6%.
  6. Most euro area consumers were satisfied with their access to cash. The vast majority of consumers (90%) found it fairly easy or very easy to get to an ATM or a bank (up from 89% in 2019). The remaining 10% said it was fairly or very difficult.
  7. 37% of consumers kept cash reserves at home, outside the wallet or a bank account, up from 34% in 2019.
  8. Cash was the dominant means of payment in person-to-person transactions

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