You can be sure that if you ask anybody on the street in Spain to open their wallet, notes will be aplenty. In fact, 99.2% of Spaniards admit always carrying some cash – mainly 20s and 50s – which is not surprising following recently published data from the Global Exchange survey on consumer payment habits. Indeed, the survey found that cash is the most popular payment method on the Iberian Peninsula (77.3%) followed by debit cards (54.6%) and credit cards (40.5%). Online payments and prepaid cards are the least popular at 17.5% and 10.1% respectively.
44.2% Spaniards define cash as their preferred payment method, almost two times more popular than debit cards (23.9%). The Bank of Spain also published relevant data on cash withdrawal habits and ATM accessibility, confirming that Spaniards are using cash more today than in the past. In fact, the value of cash withdrawals grew by 12.3% since the beginning of the year (Q1), and by 1.32% since the second quarter in 2017, showing that visits to the ATM are less frequent, but for greater amounts. The number of ATMs also increased in the past 12 months by 2.62%, reaching a total of 51,506 machines.
What’s important to note is that those that use cash the most are the 18-24 year-olds with earnings below €12,000, hinting that card usage is generally linked to income level. Similar figures were revealed in the 2018 Swiss National Bank Survey on Payments Methods whereby the most heavy cash users were either low-income people, 15-34 year-olds or those above 55 years of age.
Spaniards described their preference thanks to how easy it is to use, how helpful it can be for managing expenses and its speed for settling payments.
Almost 85% of Spanish travelers take cash on their trips, both within and outside of the EU, because it helps them better manage their budget while avoiding unnecessary fees linked to cards and ATM withdrawals abroad.