ECB study released December 20 confirms cash is king

Cash machines are the easiest way to obtain cash Credit: Salvador SV flickr

ECB study released December 20 confirms cash is king and is still the most frequently used means of payment at the point of sale, but its share is declining.

According to the European Central Bank (ECB) document on the payment attitudes of consumers in the euro area, cash was used for 59 per cent of point-of-sale transactions in 2022, down from 72 per cent in 2019.

It is the means of payment most often used for small-value payments in stores and for person-to-person transactions.

A majority (60 per cent) also consider it important to have cash as a payment option as consumers perceive cash as helpful to remain aware of their expenditures, to protect their privacy and to allow transactions to be settled immediately.

At the same time, the trend towards electronic means of payments has accelerated with the pandemic and many consumers now prefer to use electronic payment methods.

The share of online purchases as a percentage of all euro area day-to-day transactions has increased significantly to stand at 17 per cent in 2022, up from 6 per cent in 2019.

For purchases at a point of sale, the share of card payments has grown by 9 percentage points to 34 per cent in 2022, with contactless payments now making up the majority of card payments.

Cards are considered faster and easier to use and are seen as reducing the need to carry large amounts of cash.

They are the most frequently used payment method for larger amounts and now account for a higher share of payments than cash in value terms.

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