Card payments finally more popular than cash in Germany

Card payments finally more popular than cash in Germany

It’s taken a long old time - and a global pandemic - to get to this point, but the Germans might finally be falling out of love with cash. According to a new survey, a majority of consumers now prefer to pay by card. 

Cashless payments gaining popularity in Germany

The trend towards cashless payments, which was given a kickstart by hygiene concerns at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany, looks set to continue, and perhaps even become permanent. 

According to a new survey by the Euro Card System Institution, based in Frankfurt, 47 percent of 1.200 consumers surveyed in June 2021 said they preferred to pay by giro card (formerly EC card) at the checkout, while 13 percent said credit cards and 10 percent a different means of payment. 

A pretty hefty 45 percent still said they preferred to pay with cash - but half said that notes and coins are much less important to them today than they were 10 years ago, as there are now enough alternative payment methods. Every third person (33 percent) said they now carry less cash than they did 10 years ago. 

Coronavirus encourages Germans to embrace card payments

The survey results are yet another sign that more and more people in Germany are opting to leave their cash in their bank accounts and spend their money digitally. Earlier this year, hygiene concerns about handling physical notes prompted lots of people to embrace card payments, a shift that was further accelerated when the government doubled the transaction limit on contactless payments to 50 euros. 

In September 2020, a Euromonitor report predicted that card payments would exceed cash payments “for the first time in history” in 2020, and this trend appears to have continued into 2021. In the first half of the year, according to Euro Card Systems, 2,71 billion giro card transactions were carried out, 4,7 percent more than in the same period in 2020.

Two thirds of 350 retailers interviewed for the study also said they had noticed the change, and have seen an increase in contactless payments - either using a card or a mobile phone - since the beginning of the pandemic. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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