Cash Reigns in Austria and Germany

Jun 16, 2021


Austria and Germany are nations of committed cash users, with contactless options remaining less popular. A new study by shopping service provider Klarna offers insights into the continued dominance of physical money over card and digital payments.

49 percent of Germans and 47 percent of Austrians have a marked preference for paying cash, compared to a European average of around 30 percent, the study finds.

Card payments are comparatively unpopular in Germany, with only 38 percent of people reporting they would use them while shopping. Conversely, in countries with the lowest cash usage (such as Sweden at nine percent, Norway at 14 percent and Finland at 15 percent) card payments are highest (with Sweden at 72 percent, Finland 70 percent and Norway 67 percent).

In Austria, paying by smartphone is rare, and just seven percent of respondents would use a contactless payment method. Payment by smartwatch is especially uncommon, alongside options such as facial recognition or fingerprints, all of which have a reported usage of two percent. While the country is certainly open to new technologies—with a survey by the Paysafe payment platform finding 27 percent of people had used online or digital payments within the past 12 months—cash is ultimately preferred.

Udo Müller, CEO of paysafecard, notes that during the pandemic, many Austrians have started shopping online, demonstrating their willingness to try new things, but the ever-increasing levels of cybercrime and fraud are simultaneously driving people towards the security offered by cash.

The basic need for security has increased significantly due to fears of fraud, and in Austria—the ‘cash nation’—it is obvious cash-based payments are more in demand than ever on the internet.
"Udo Müller, CEO of paysafecard

Germans similarly do not favour digital transactions, with just nine percent reporting they would use mobile payments. This compares with 17 percent in Australia, 14 percent in the UK and 13 percent in the USA: countries where mobile payments are considered very popular.

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024