The report presents estimations of the number and value of cash transactions in all 19 euro area countries in 2016, based on survey result as well as figures on main payments by demographic.
According to the findings from the European Central Bank's report, cash was used for 87% of point-of-sale payments in Spain in terms of number of transactions (ECB, 2017).
Excerpt from ECB Diary report
In 2016 euro area consumers made 1.6 payments per day on average, which equals nearly 11 payments per week. They used cash more frequently than other payment instruments, making on average 1.2 cash payments per day, i.e. almost nine per week. The second most frequently used payment methods were payment cards, which consumers used on average 0.3 times per day, i.e. 2.1 times per week.
However, these are euro area averages, since payment behavior varied from country to country. Italy, Spain and Greece were the countries where consumers made the highest number of cash payments per day, with 1.7 transactions per day, i.e. nearly 12 per week.
On the other hand, consumers in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland and Estonia made the highest number of card payments per person per day, with 0.8, 0.6 and 0.5 payments per day, respectively. This is equal to 5.3, 4.1 and 3.8 payments per week, respectively.
This is the first study on the use of cash, cards and other payment instruments by households that applies a harmonised methodology to analyse consumers’ payment behaviour in the euro area. It provides an objective measure of the use of cash and other payment instruments at POS in the euro area with emphasis on households’ daily payments, which tend to be small and often overlooked. The results give insight into the differences in payment choices in the 19 euro area countries.
Overall, the results put the use of cash relative to non-cash payment methods by consumers at POS into perspective, and indicate that the use of cash at POS is still widespread in most euro area countries. This seems to challenge the perception that cash is rapidly being replaced by cashless means of payment.
The report was published at the end of 2017, but the figures are still relevant today. As the backlash against cash sweeps the western world, Europeans are reconsidering the fantasy of cashless becoming a reality.