You can now select and download multiple cash facts at once. | Read more

In Malta, people chose cash 92% of the time

April 3, 2018 Share Source

At a whopping 92%, almost every point-of-sale transactions in Malta occured thanks to cash in 2016, reports the European Central Banks.

The research, published in the ECB's 'Occasional Paper Series: The use of cash by households in the EU Area' finds that even though cash is king in the EU, the way it is used differs from country to country. 

The survey results not only “challenge the perception that cash is rapidly being replaced by cashless means of payment,” but also confirm that cash is still the predominant payment instrument across the Eurozone at a POS level. 

Key findings related to Malta include

  • Cash made up 74% of the total value of transactions in Malta and 92% of the total number of transactions;
  • At 92%, the share of cash was highest in Malta, followed by Greece, Cyprus - both over 70 percent (p. 4);
  • Comparatively, the share of cash was lowest in Estonia, France and Finland - all below 34% (p. 4);
  • The average card transaction value was the highest in Luxembourg, Malta and Germany, where it ranged from €70.78 to €51.38 (p. 21);
  • While the Netherlands carried out 55% of all transactions using a payment card, Estonia consumers carried out an equal number of transactions by cash and card, on average (p. 22); finally, 
  • As expected, countries where income is often given in non-cash payments, cash usage is generally very low. Yet, while the total of those paid in cash in Malta and Austria is below the EU averag, the levels of cash usage are of the highest (p. 48).

The only other recent paper estimating the value and number of payment behaviour around Europe dates from 2008, making this ECB research paper essential reading material for policy makers, key stakeholders and journalists navigating the discussion on cash. 

"... 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..."
" By Henk Esselink, Lola Hernández ECB Occasional Paper Series: The use of cash by households in the EU area (p.4)

Excerpt from ECB Occasional Paper Series: The use of cash by households in the EU area

The use of cash and cards differs according to country, place of purchase, transaction value and consumers’ demographic characteristics. In terms of number of transactions, cash was most used in the southern euro area countries, as well as in Germany, Austria and Slovenia, where 80% or more of POS transactions were conducted with cash. Cash was least used in the Netherlands, Estonia and Finland, where its share in the number of transactions ranged between 45% and 54%. In terms of value, the share of cash was highest in Greece, Cyprus and Malta (above 70%), while it was lowest in the Benelux countries, Estonia, France and Finland (at, or below, 33%)...

Read 'ECB Occasional Paper Series' here


Esselink, Henk, Lola Hernández. "Occasional papers series: The use of cash by households in the euro area". No 201. European Central Bank. Electronically published November 2017. Accessed November 25, 2017. 

Related Articles

Cash Matters Cash is King in Eurozone, finds new ECB study  A new study published by the European Central Bank on Friday sheds some much-needed light on the topic of cash use per household across the 19 euro area countries.

The Baltic Times Almost half of payments in Estonia were made with cash in 2016 TALLINN – Forty-eight percent of all payments at points of sale (POS) in Estonia were made with cash in 2016, it appears from a survey by the European Central Bank (ECB). Cash payments accounted for 31 percent of the total value of POS transactions in Estonia last year.

Cash Matters Cash is king in the USA, affirms latest PYMNTS research It appears that 'the narrative that cash is dead or in decline is overhyped, according to the latest PYMNTS research.' The Global Cash Index: US Edition, a collaboration with Cardtronics, predicts that 'U.S. cash share will represent 11.2% of the nation’s GDP by 2021.'

Last Updated: Feb. 12, 2020

Stay up to date with Cash Matters.

Join the Cash Matters community and we’ll keep you posted about the latest developments in cash happening around the globe.