Cash Payments

In which countries is cash still the most common payment method?

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Map showing the percentage of cash transactions per country in Europe.

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Since the introduction of the debit card several decades ago, card payments have risen very slowly. In the past decade, several new payment methods have arisen, like mobile payments. But how do cash payments fare with the competition of all these new and convenient payment methods?

The data on this map includes the POS (Point of Sale) transactions. Point of Sale is the time and place where the transaction takes place. Usually at the check-out in a physical retail store or an online store. The percentage of transactions are counted by value, not by the number of transactions.

Straight away, we can see a stark difference between the north-west and south-east of Europe. The UK and the Nordic countries do less than 20% of their POS transactions in cash. Whereas in the south east of Europe it’s over 70% in most countries. In a slight majority of the European countries, the percentage of cash transactions is below 50%.

It looks at first like there might be a correlation between how developed and wealthy a country is and how many of the POS transactions are in cash. However, that does not seem to be the case. One country that stands out in that case is Germany. With 63% of the POS transactions in cash, they have many more cash transactions than the rest of north and western Europe.

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