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Payment methods in the Benelux - statistics & facts

The European continent has many different payment methods and various approaches on them. Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are no exception to this. Nonetheless, it is noticeable in all three countries that the use of cash money is relatively low compared to most European countries. This is where the similarities end, however. When it comes to contactless payments, for example, the Netherlands used NFC payments more than Luxembourg and especially Belgium. Luxembourg, on the other hand, registered high figures for e-money. Finally, Belgium shows more diversity in its online payment methods, combining both domestic schemes with international credit cards.

Belgium: local options preferred

The country’s market leader when it comes to electronic payment methods is Bancontact, a Belgium-only payment scheme. It can be found on debit cards from domestic banks - such as BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius and KBC – and is accepted both offline as well offline. As the coronavirus pandemic progressed, however, so increased the use of PayPal in Belgium, possibly through increased e-commerce and foreign websites not offering Bancontact - such as Amazon. Mobile payments only had a market share of a few percent in Belgium until the pandemic. Since then, however, the share of contactless NFC payments grew significantly amidst health precautions.

Netherlands: NFC a big factor

Dutch consumers in are very much into contactless payments. In 2020, 68 percent of all young adults from 19 to 24 years old used their debit cards for a contactless transaction in their POS payments. This NFC popularity extends to other items as well. In 2019, one third of all these transactions in Europe came from the Netherlands, followed by the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Russia. Wearables can include smartwatches or fitness trackers like Garmin, but also include armbands, rings and keychains. Credit cards were not popular: Just 0.03 billion of all 6.2 billion payment transactions in POS locations, such as hotels or restaurants, were done with a credit card in 2020.

Luxembourg: shopping abroad

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg stands out within the Benelux region for its credit card use. The country had issued more credit cards than debit cards, a rarity in Europe. This was due to different factors. First, the domestic population relies on buying goods from abroad via the Internet. These cross-border e-commerce purchases occurred more often in smaller European states, such as Luxembourg but also Malta or Cyprus. Almost nine out of ten Luxembourgish respondents said in 2019 did their online shopping at a foreign seller, be it from within the EU or outside the EU (for example, from China). Consequently, credit cards accounted for one-third of total payment volume in 2019, both domestic as well as abroad.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 44 most important statistics relating to "Payment methods in the Benelux".

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