Non-MFI payment transactions in 28 countries in Europe 2016-2018

In the United Kingdom, approximately 27.7 billion transactions were reported from non-MFIs. These payments can include debit cards, credit cards, direct debit and checks, among others.

The dawn of cashless payments

   The practice of paying without cash has its roots in the United States and was first used in the 1940s as a means of paying for automobile fuel. As the number of motorists in the country that would soon become the world’s dominant economy began to rise, a way was sought to make the process of re-fueling more convenient. This was the dawn of the cashless payment. The process is so popular now, that in 2018 more than 111 billion cashless transactions took place in the EU member states.

Cashless payment transactions

   It took a while before the practice was to be adopted in other parts of the world. Initial adoption rates of one form of cashless payment, the credit card, were high in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom but elsewhere the acceptance levels were relatively slow. It took until the mid 1990s for the credit card payments to be more widely accepted, but despite this, usage rates around the world vary vastly.

Some countries are very cash oriented and despite Germany’s position as the country with the third highest number of cashless payment transactions in Europe, the country is generally considered to be primarily cash-reliant. Cultural aspects might have a role to play into that: debt and financial insecurity is identified as a highly negative value in the culture. The fear of ‘Schuld’, which translates as well into ‘guilt’ and ‘blame’ as it does into ‘debt’, stands as one of the possible reasons to explain as to why it is more common to pay with cash in Germany.

Number of payment transactions involving non-MFIs per country in Europe in 2018

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period

2016 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Any natural or legal person who/which does not belong to the MFI sector. For the purposes of payments statistics, all PSPs are excluded from the non-MFI sector. The non-MFI sector comprises general government including central government, other financial intermediaries and financial auxiliaries, insurance corporations and pension funds, non-financial corporations, households and non-profit institutions serving households.

* The figures for direct debits are excluded from the total payments figure for Denmark due to confidentiality of the national data.

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Statistics on "Payment methods in Denmark "

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