The number of card payments in the euro area have more than doubled in a decade as consumers increasingly dispense with the hassle of carrying notes and coins, according to the latest statistics from the European Central Bank.
In 2018, card payments accounted for almost half of the total number of non-cash payments across the single-currency area.
Credit transfers and direct debits were the second and third most common non-cash payment methods, accounting for approximately 23% each, while e-money and cheques together made up around seven percent.
However, the relative popularity of each type of payment service still varies widely across euro area countries. In 2018 card payments accounted for just over 70% of all non‑cash payments in Portugal, compared with around 23% in Germany.
The stats show that the number of card payments made by consumers and businesses has more than doubled in the last decade, with an average of 121 card payments per capita in 2018, compared with 56 in 2008. However, the average value of each card payment has declined steadily, falling from €54 in 2008 to €44 in 2018.
Again, big differences appear between member states, with the Finns, for example, using their cards five times more often than people living in Germany and six times more often than people in Italy.
Curiously, the average value of annual cash withdrawals in the euro area also rose, from €1,925 to €2,082 per card between 2008 and 2018.
Most countries experienced a similar trend, but with considerable differences in the value of withdrawals. For instance, the average annual cash withdrawal per card in Austria was almost four times the size of the equivalent figure for Luxembourg and almost twice the euro area average.