Dutch Youth and Seniors Agree Cash is King

Mar 11, 2024


Research from the Netherlands’ Central Bank shows young people are among the nation’s most loyal cash users, on par with senior citizens, with ease of budgeting likely a key driver.

De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) says cash accounted for around 15 percent of the total value of in-person purchases in 2022, but is also aware that ‘large groups of people are still attached to banknotes and coins.’ Young people living at home are among the highest cash users alongside the older demographic, which DNB economist Jelmer Reijerink says ‘came as a surprise.’

[Older people] grew up with cash and use it often, out of habit or because it feels safe to them. [For young people] they find it easier to budget with cash. It’s visible, you can hold it, and that makes it easier to divide it into portions.
"Jelmer Reijerink, Data Scientist, De Nederlandsche Bank

The study used payment survey data collected from Dutch consumers to gain insight into spending, with respondents aged 12 and over. Individuals in the youngest category had an average age of 18 while the oldest category had an average age of 67. Across all age groups, cash made up around 20 percent of total transaction value, and was used more often for lower-value purchases. In the youngest group, cash made up 25 percent of their total purchase value, while in the oldest it accounted for 28 percent.

The largest cash users overall were those of varying ages categorised as ‘having relatively low incomes and facing financial difficulties’, who used cash for 30 percent of their total payment value. This group is also highly likely to value cash for its simplicity and because it makes managing a tight budget easier.

The aim of the survey was ‘to form a comprehensive and holistic view of payment behaviour’ that would inform the DNB’s decisions regarding the future of cash, and demonstrates that payment choice is an important issue to ensure continued fairness and freedom within the Dutch economy.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2024