According to the SPACE study, carried out by the European Central Bank (ECB), which investigates financial behaviour in the eurozone
every two years, among residents of the Monetary Union, the use of physical
money has reduced. It is a trend in most eurozone countries, but especially
prevalent in southern European countries: Portugal, Greece, Spain, and Cyprus.
But Europeans still like physical money. For 60% of European
citizens, being able to have physical money is still important. In addition,
people believe that using cash makes them more aware of their spending habits. Faced
with possible energy crises and power outages, the discussion of banknotes and
coins versus digital payments becomes relevant.
In the 19 countries of the eurozone, payments are generally
made with banknotes and coins. But even so, the percentage of cash payments in
all transactions dropped to 59% in 2022. Three years earlier, the share was
72%, and six years earlier 79%.
Measured in terms of turnover, card payments are, for the
first time, surpassing cash payments. According to ECB data, 46% of sales in
stores were paid by card and 43% in cash. Differences in the proportion of coin
and banknote payments are due to the fact that small amounts are more often
paid in cash, while large amounts are more likely to be paid by debit or credit
The survey results illustrate a continuing trend towards
fewer physical payments at points of sale. But consumers are also shopping
online more and more often. The percentage of e-commerce payments in all
payments rose to 17% in 2022, compared to 6% three years earlier. In terms of
turnover, the share grew from 14% to 28%.
Most Europeans do not want to do without banknotes and
coins. For 60% of Eurozone consumers, these elements are 'very important' or
'quite important'. Germans and Austrians are at the top of the list of fans of