Should you carry cash in Europe? This will highly depend on the country you are visiting. According toEurope-wide surveys from 2017 and 2019 (the only one that compared the use of paper money for in-person transactions across the euro countries), cash was used most in the southern countries of Europe, as well as in Germany, Austria and Slovenia. Only in the Netherlands, Finland, and Estonia did cash money make up less than half of all payments at shops, restaurants, petrol stations and street merchants. Note that numbers for the United Kingdom (UK), Denmark and Sweden were not included in this ranking - as they do not have the euro as a currency, the scope of these surveys. Statista made its own ranking on how much cash money consumers used in 38 countries across Europe, regardless of currency.
Sample of the population of each country from Kantar Public's internet panels, based on three demographic characteristics: gender, age and region of residence. Purposive sampling was used.
Method of interview
* Excluded from this survey were Germany and the Netherlands, as both countries supplied information from their central banks. One important note for Germany: the figures it provided were for 2016 and 2017, not 2016 and 2019 like all the other countries.
The figures shown here are based off payment diaries, held in three waves from March 2019 to December 2019 and published in December 2020. The source mentions there was a small questionnaire in 2020 asking about the impact of COVID-19 on payments behavior. The source chose not to include this information as "the two surveys cannot be directly compared" and "it cannot be predicted how the changes in the methodology influence the results in terms of an over- or underestimation of cash usage".
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ECB. (December 30, 2020). Share of cash transactions at POS (points of sale) in the euro area in 2016 and 2019 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/786680/share-of-cash-transactions-at-pos-in-europe-by-country/
ECB. "Share of cash transactions at POS (points of sale) in the euro area in 2016 and 2019." Chart. December 30, 2020. Statista. Accessed March 09, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/786680/share-of-cash-transactions-at-pos-in-europe-by-country/
ECB. (2020). Share of cash transactions at POS (points of sale) in the euro area in 2016 and 2019. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: March 09, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/786680/share-of-cash-transactions-at-pos-in-europe-by-country/
ECB. "Share of Cash Transactions at Pos (Points of Sale) in The Euro Area in 2016 and 2019." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 Dec 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/786680/share-of-cash-transactions-at-pos-in-europe-by-country/
ECB, Share of cash transactions at POS (points of sale) in the euro area in 2016 and 2019 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/786680/share-of-cash-transactions-at-pos-in-europe-by-country/ (last visited March 09, 2021)