Cash Use Among EU Companies
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published its first survey on cash usage among EU companies, showing the vast majority accept physical currency and more prefer their customers to use it than any other payment option.
The ECB’s Eurosystem cash strategy recognises cash as essential to financial inclusion and an important part of citizens’ freedom to choose how they transact. In line with this, 2021 saw the inaugural Companies’ Survey on Cash conducted with the aim of understanding use and acceptance of cash in businesses across Europe.
96 percent of companies accept cash, with just five percent saying they expect to stop accepting it in future. 24 percent prefer consumers to pay using banknotes and coins, with contactless cards the next most popular choice (20 percent) followed by debit cards (17 percent) and credit cards (16 percent).
Asked about their decision-making process regarding whether to accept a given payment method, security was considered the most important factor by 94 percent, with reliability prioritised by 92 percent. Cash was well-regarded on both fronts.
Companies generally consider cash to be better in terms of overall costs, transaction speed and reliability compared with other payment methods.
85 percent of companies reported depositing cash, while withdrawals are used by around 25 percent. Over-the-counter services were the most common choice for withdrawals, with 64 percent of companies using them. ATMs were used by 45 percent.
Cashback and cash-in-shop services are only offered by 11 percent of retailers, with the highest availability being in Belgium, Finland and Ireland (all of which have services offered by over 40 percent of retailers). The main reason for businesses not offering cashback was identified as a ‘lack of familiarity with these services.’