Estimate of cash money use at POS (points of sale) in Europe in 2018, by country

Of 38 different European countries, consumers from the five Nordics countries and the United Kingdom were least likely to use cash money in 2018. This according to estimations based on what data is available regarding the value of cash withdrawals and payment transactions. As not all payment data is readily available in all countries, note this can still mean that the cash share numbers provided here are not necessarily accurate. The exact volume of cash money transactions, either the number or the value, is not known within Europe. Individual countries might have their own survey diaries. Such a survey, which covers consumers' use of different payment methods in shops, was held only once for Europe. In 2017, a comparative study for several European countries looked into cash use in 2016.

Estimate of the share of cash in total POS payment transactions in 38 countries in Europe in 2018

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Sources

Release date

April 2020

Region

Europe

Survey time period

2018

Special properties

Estimates based on data from domestic sources and concerns transaction values, not the number.

Supplementary notes

The numbers provided here are based on calculations. No data is available that covers the exact volume of transactions conducted with cash money. The share of cash used here stands for the value of cash withdrawals as a percentage of the value of transactions made with these same withdrawals plus two of cash' biggest substitutes. In order to make a credible estimation, this calculation looked at the following indicators:

  • Value of ATM cash withdrawals (either with cards issued by resident PSPs at any terminal, provided by either a resident or non-resident PSP, or with cards issued by non-resident PSPs at terminals provided by resident PSPs;
  • Value of OTC or over-the-counter cash withdrawals;
  • Value of card payments, issued by resident PSPs;
  • Value of e-money payment transactions, issued by resident PSPs.

To summarize, this methodology tries to put cash withdrawals, either at an ATM or OTC, in perspective of all payment transactions (withdrawals + card payment+ e-money transactions) within a country. Numbers on checks, ACH or instant payments have not been used.

Note that numbers on OTC withdrawals and e-money are not always readily available for all years. Multiple sources were consulted to get to these numbers. Data availability and quality can vary substantially within Europe. This shows, for example, in that not all countries had a complete dataset for 2018 or that a country like Luxembourg showed an overrepresentation of e-money in their data.

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