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

In the euro area, cash was used for 79% of POS payments in terms of number in 2016 (ECB, 2017)

Nov. 24, 2017 Share Source
The statistic comes from the European Central Bank's study on Cash Use by Household in the Euro Area, published in November 2017.

The report presents estimations of the number and value of cash transactions in all 19 euro area countries in 2016, based on survey result as well as figures on main payments by demographic.

According to the findings from the European Central Bank's report, cash was used for 79% of point-of-sale payments across the euro area in terms of number of transactions (ECB, 2017).

Excerpts from ECB

"In terms of number of transactions, 78.8% of purchases at the POS were paid using cash, 19.1% using cards and the remaining 2.1% was paid using various other payment instruments (see Chart 1). In terms of value, cash payments accounted for 53.8% of all POS payments, cards for 39% and other means of payment accounted for the remaining 7.2%." (p. 18)

European Central Bank (Nov, 2017)

"In 2016, euro area consumers made 163 billion payments by means of cash, payment cards or other payment instruments, amounting to more than €2,968 billion. The large majority of these payments were made in shops for day-today items, restaurants and petrol stations, as well as at street merchants and shops for durable goods. These payments are referred to as POS..." (p. 18)

"Survey results show that cash was dominant at the POS."
" Cash Use by Household in the Euro Area, p. 18 European Central Bank (Nov, 2017)

"Comparing the use of cash per country, it can be concluded that cash was used most in southern euro area countries, as well as in Germany, 19 Austria and Slovenia (resulting in country shares of 80% or above for all POS transactions; see Chart 2). The market share of cash was lower in Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Ireland, ranging from 71% to 79%. Belgium, Luxembourg and France follow with a cash share ranging between 63% and 68%. The Netherlands, Estonia and Finland had the lowest shares, ranging between 45% and 54% of all payments at POS." (p. 19)

"In 2016 euro area consumers made 1.6 payments per day on average, which equals nearly 11 payments per week (see Chart 5). They used cash more frequently than other payment instruments, making on average 1.2 cash payments per day, i.e. almost nine per week." (p. 22)

Read more

Download study


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. 

What is POS?

Point-of-Sale or POS, are the kind of payments made in shops for day-to-day items (restaurants and petrol stations, as well as street merchants and shops for durable goods); POS transactions make up 96% of all payments. Non-POS payments include charity donations, payments between friends or family, etc.

Last Updated: June 4, 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.