On May 3rd, 2017 German bank ING DiBa published economic research on consumer payment habits across of 13 European Countries and found that while cash payments may be declining in certain countries, few would choose to go completely without cash.
The focus of the study, "Cash bleibt doch king" (or "Cash remains king") was the German market which is, as is common knowledge, still very much cash driven. Survey results showed that 84% of the respondents in Germany said they wouldn't renounce cash completely. Meanwhile, the European average follows closely at 74%.
Cash is strong
90% of the German and 79% of the European consumers answer that they carry cash “frequently” or “almost always”. The Germans are clearly leaders in this category and the French, with 65%, are the ones who carry cash most infrequently. The average amount that people carry on them is around 52 Euros with Turkey having the population carrying the most cash, at almost 80 Euros, and Polish consumers carrying the least, at 28 Euros.
The study mentions that the level of development in infrastructure and culture plays a large role in which transaction people normally complete in cash. In Turkey, for instance, people are still frequently paying their rent or mortgage and their utility bills in cash whereas in order countries that is not common practice.
A clearer picture is reached by looking at the amount spent; the study shows that amounts up to 50 Euros are paid in cash in the majority of the countries. Above 50 Euros the share of cash payment significantly decreases. The Germans remain clearly above the European average in all of the shown categories.
Anonymous and secure
The reason why so many people in Europe still conduct their payments in cash is for a large part due to the perceived security and anonymity. All respondents share the opinion that paying with cards, cheque or other means of electronic payments doesn’t offer the same anonymity of cash payments. More interestingly is that when 48% of the respondents value none-cash payments as “secure” more than 77% give this response for cash payments. The researchers note that people clearly are more afraid of becoming a victim of manipulation when paying with alternative payment methods rather than losing cash.
A cashless future
When asked whether they would ever be able to live completely without cash, 84% of the respondents answered negatively. Even when an average of 30% answered that they would rather always pay without using cash. The researchers believe that part of this last group of respondents think the infrastructure will not reach a level that allows a fully cashless society and therefore have the opinion that it will always be smart to have some cash just as a reserve.
Cash to remain king
The feeling of having coins and banknotes in your pocket or wallet is something that only very few people want to miss. Some countries might be further in their efforts of reducing their dependence on cash than the ones involved in this study, for the near future however a less cash society is more likely than a fully cashless one.
Franke, Sebastian and Carsten Brzeski. "Cash bleibt doch King (Cash remains King).”"Cash bleibt doch King (Cash remains King).” Die Bank und Du, Germany. ING-DiBa AG. 3 May 2017. Pdf. Accessed 4 May 2017.