Euro area consumers are gradually shifting towards cards for in-person retail payments, although cash remained the most used instrument at the end of 2019, data published by the European Central Bank (ECB) show.
Last year euro area adult consumers used cash for 73% of their point-of-sale and person-to-person retail transactions (48% in value terms).
In a previous ECB study conducted in 2016, the figure was 79% of these transactions (54% in value terms).
The use of cards for in-person retail payments increased by 5 percentage points over the same three years, from 19% to 24% (41% in value terms).
Almost four out of ten card transactions were made using contactless technology in 2019.
For their online shopping, euro area adult consumers paid mainly by card (49% of transactions) and one out of four online transactions was made using e-payment solutions.
Four out of ten bill payments were made using direct debit and two out of ten by credit transfer.
How Covid-19 pandemic changed payment behavior
Four out of ten respondents replied that they had used cash less often since the start of the pandemic. While most of those who fell into this category expected to continue to do so after the pandemic, the long-term impact on payment behaviour is still uncertain.