Speaking on the occasion of the launch of the new € 50 banknote, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank stated "Though electronic payments are becoming more popular, cash is still our most important means of payment. A soon-to-be-published survey on cash use, carried out on behalf of the ECB, shows that over three-quarters of all payments at points-of-sale in the euro area are made in cash. In terms of transaction values, that’s slightly more than half. So even in this digital age, cash remains essential in our economy."
The estimate is based on comprehensive research by the European Central Bank and the National Central Banks of the euro area and exceeds previous estimates. The Cash Report
published by G4S estimated that 60% of all payment transactions were settled in cash, in 2015, throughout the 28 Members Satates of the the European Union.
The importance of cash as a payment instrument is reflected in the increase in demand. "And this is particularly the case for the €50 note, which is our most important denomination. There are more than 9 billion of them in circulation, accounting for 46% of all euro banknotes. That’s more than the total number of banknotes issued at the time of the euro cash introduction in 2002." said Mario Draghi.
But beyond payments, euro banknotes are also an important symbol of European integration. "Holding a euro banknote and knowing that it can be used in 19 countries is a reminder of the deep integration Europe has attained. Indeed, when asked about the most important elements of European identity, the single currency is the one most frequently quoted by euro area citizens after democracy and freedom. And in spite of the difficulties in recent years, support for the single currency now stands at 70%, equalling the highs recorded in the pre-crisis period."
A video of the new €50 is available here