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Germany – Card payments eclipse cash for the first time

By - 14 February 2018

Paying with cash in Germany remains very popular – even if the percentage of payments made by card and other payment forms have now surpassed it. In a recent report, Carl-Ludwig Thiele, member of the Board of the Bundesbank, noted: “Cash remains the most popular form of payment. Yet payments made by card or other payment methods are constantly on the increase.”

Total payments made by cash were registered at 47.6 per cent last year in Germany. Payment by debit cards was at 34 per cent. Yet combined with the data for credit cards and other payment methods, this figure has surpassed that of cash. Figures show that Germans often decide on the payment term depending on the amount to pay. 90 per cent pay in cash for sums up to 20 euros. For sums between 20 and 50 euros, every third person pays by card. In addition, the location plays an important role.

Digital payment is preferred for internet purchases. 80 per cent of people visiting a restaurant pay by cash. Yet most people prefer paying by card at a petrol station. Apparently only 10 per cent of the euros printed by the Bundesbank reach everyday people. 20 per cent are stored by the banks. 20 per cent are kept by people and institutions outside of Germany, yet within Europe – and 50 per cent by people residing outside of Europe. “This shows that the euro has really strengthened its position as reserve currency in comparison to the dollar,” concluded Mr. Thiele.

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