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Use of Cash by Companies in the Euro Area

Categories : Cash ensures competition among payment instruments, Cash is a contingency and fall-back solution, Cash is available to all users, Cash is easy to use, Cash is efficient, Cash is the most widely used payment instrument
October 7, 2022
Tags : Acceptance of cash, ECB, Euro, Survey
An ECB survey shows that cash is the preferred payment method for 24% of companies, ahead of other alternatives. Most companies also perceive cash as a cheaper, faster and more reliable payment instrument.
Guillaume Lepecq

Chair, CashEssentials

This post is also available in: Spanish

The first ECB survey on cash usage among companies aims to understand companies’ strategic views on the current and future use and acceptance of cash.

It covers:

The paper focuses on four sectors of interest – retail trade; hotels; restaurants and cafes; arts, entertainment and recreation – as these are the most individual customers.

24% of Companies Prefer to be Paid in Cash

Companies have differing preferences. 24% 24% of companies prefer consumers to pay with cash, followed by contactless cards with 20% of choices, debit PIN cards with 17% and credit PIN cards with 16%. Overall, cards as a whole (including contactless cards) account for 53% of preferences.

96% of Companies Accept Cash

Cash is accepted by 96% of surveyed companies, well ahead of other means of payment. Of the companies that accept cash, only 5% expect to stop taking cash in the future.

Cash is Cheaper, Faster and More Reliable

When firms decide whether to accept a means of payment, security of payment (94%) and reliability of payment methods (92%) are the most important criteria. Overall, companies generally consider cash to be better in terms of overall costs, transaction speed and reliability than other payment methods.

85% of Companies Deposit Cash

A large majority of companies deposit cash (85%), while withdrawals are used by around a quarter of companies. The majority of deposits are done using cash-in devices (53%), followed by bank counters (49%), night safes (20%) and cash-in-transit companies (17%). Over-the-counter is the most commonly used method (64%) for cash withdrawals, followed by ATM (45%) and via a cash-in-transit company (20%). 63% of firms said they had not automated their cash operations, with 23% saying that they have cashier desks with smart cash tills and 9% have self-check-out devices.

Cashback and Cash-in-Shop Services Are Limited

11% of companies offer cashback and 6% cash-in-shop services at present. Likewise, when asked, a few companies said they were planning to introduce these services in the future. The benefits are widespread, however, in Belgium and Finland. In Belgium, 59% of companies offer cashback, and 35% provide cash-in shops. In Finland, the respective figures are 55% and 36%. The main reasons merchants are not offering these services are a lack of knowledge and expected low customer demand.

This post is also available in: Spanish