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For German consumers, cash is still king

27 October 2009  |  9093 views  |  0 Euro Coin Cash

Innovations in payments are unlikely to tempt German consumers away from their love of notes and coins anytime in the near future, according to research conducted by the German Bundesbank.

The Bundesbank interviewed 2000 people about their purchasing habits and asked each one to maintain a payments diary to record their daily transactions.

The majority of those surveyed stated that how they chose to pay was determined by the amount of cash they had available to them and the amount to be paid. Measured by the value of the transactions, cash accounts for a share of 57.9%, girocards for 25.5% and credit cards for 3.6% of all purchases. In terms of the number of transactions, cash accounts for a share of 82.5%, with girocards and credit cards accounting for 11.9% and 1.4% respectively.

On average, each of the persons surveyed carried cash to the value of €118, including €6.70 in coins; 91% of those surveyed own at least one girocard and 27% possess a credit card.

According to the study, it is to be expected that cash will continue to play the leading role as a payment instrument in the future.

The Bundesbank does not expect innovative payment procedures, such as payment by mobile phone or by fingerprint recognition, to be a runaway success in the near future.

Bundesbank Executive Board member responsible for cash management Thilo Sarrazin expects a "slight decline" in the share of cash payments in the medium to long term, perhaps prompted by an acceleration in Internet trading and e-invoicing under the Single euro Payments Area.

On the German high street, however, cash substitution methods have too many barriers to overcome. "When deciding on the method of payment to be used, members of the German general public attach the greatest importance to protection against financial loss, acceptance in retails outlets and cost," notes Sarrazin. "It is unlikely that cashless payment instruments will significantly displace cash in the short term. A tight-knit nationwide network for obtaining cash, such as ATMs, is, furthermore, promoting the use of cash."

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