More than half of the value of purchases in the eurozone were cashless for the first time in 2019, according to a European Central Bank (ECB) study published on Wednesday, December 2.
Consumers in the 19-member eurozone paid for purchases in cash worth just 48% of the total value, with more customers using card and other cashless payment options, the study on consumer attitudes said.
According to a previous study, cash still counted for 54% of the value of purchases in 2016.
However, in terms of individual transactions, a large majority – 73% – were still made by cash in 2019.
It suggests cash is more commonly used for smaller purchases.
Southern Europeans are keener on using cash to pay for goods: Malta tops the list with around 88% of the value of transactions, with Spain and Italy close behind at 83% and 82% respectively.
But in the Netherlands, cash makes up just 34%.
The authors of the report added that the pandemic had accelerated the trend towards cashless payments.
A separate survey published in July on the impact of the pandemic on cash trends showed nearly half of respondents used less cash than the start of the pandemic, and nearly 90% said they would continue to use less after the health crisis is over.
The latest report comes as the Frankfurt-based institution is considering whether to introduce a digital currency.
A digital euro would be an electronic form of central-bank money, which proponents say will allow for faster and cheaper payments as they cut out the administration and the high costs needed in traditional banking. – Rappler.com
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