CashMoney in physical form such as banknotes and coins. More remains the most frequently used payment methodSee Payment instrument. More in Poland. According to the “PaymentA transfer of funds which discharges an obligation on the part of a payer vis-à-vis a payee. More habits in Poland in 2020” study, 97.8% of respondents said they prefer to use cash in payments (NBP 2020: 8-9). Poland’s cash payment limitations are less restrictive than other European Union members states. Cash on delivery is a popular payment method in the country.
Graph 1. Poland: Currency in Circulation, December 1996-February 2022
The value of banknotes and coins in circulation in Poland equalled 389.4127 billion Polish zloty (PLN) during the first trimester of 2022, according to NBP data. The banknotes with the most pieces in circulation are the PLN100 (with 55.97% of Polish banknotes), and the PLN200 (24.12% of all banknotes).
The PLN500, the highest denominationEach individual value in a series of banknotes or coins. More banknoteA banknote (or ‘bill’ as it is often referred to in the US) is a type of negotiable promissory note, issued by a bank or other licensed authority, payable to the bearer on demand. More launched in 2017, comprises just 2.06% of Polish banknotes. The dominant coins are the 1-grosz (37.49% of all coins) and the 2-groszy (16.55% of Polish coins).
The PLN100 and the PLN200 banknotes grew the most during the Covid-19 pandemic. Like other countries worldwide, an increase in Polish consumers’ precautionary demand for high-denomination banknotes more than compensated for the decline in their transactional demand for cash.
Graph 2. Poland: Structure of Banknotes in Circulation, 2007Q1-2022Q1
In 2016, Poland and Turkey were the only two European countries with a growing ATM base. The number of ATMs in Poland expanded from 8,054 in 2004Q4 to 23,751 in 2017Q1. Poland’s cash terminals have declined since then, albeit slowly. Poland had 21,396 ATMs as of late 2021. Cash RecyclingThe process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. Banknotes are increasingly recycled after destruction, and the waste is often used for landfills, isolation material etc. Polymer notes are melted into pellets which are recycled into new products. Recycling is often incorrectly used instead of recirculation. See Recirculation. More Machines (CRMs) grew from 3,468 in 2015 Q2 to 9,343 in late 2021.
Graph 3. Poland: ATMs and CDMs, 2004Q4 -2021Q4
In 2015, Poland’s Idea Bank launched a fleet of electric cars fitted with ATMs. A year later, Idea Bank’s fleet had grown to 18 mobile ATMs in 12 cities: “One in three Polish micro-entrepreneurs accept only cash payments, and almost four out of five deliver income to their bank in person. By providing them with a convenient and secure way of depositing moneyFrom the Latin word moneta, nickname that was given by Romans to the goddess Juno because there was a minting workshop next to her temple. Money is any item that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular region, country or socio-economic context. Its onset dates back to the origins of humanity and its physical representation has taken on very varied forms until the appearance of metal coins. The banknote, a typical representati... More, we have made their day-end business closing much easier,” said Dominik Fajbusiewicz, board member of the bank.
Cash withdrawals by volume grew from 2004Q4 to 2014Q2, declining after that. Their worst fall occurred in 2020Q2, coinciding with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. By value, cash withdrawals grew from 2004Q4 to 2019Q3.
Graph 4. Poland: Cash Withdrawals by Volume (Millions of Transactions, left axis) and Value (PLN billion, right axis), 2004Q4 -2021Q4
Polish consumers used ATMs less during the pandemic, but they withdrew the same or even more cash as before. The NBP thanked “professional cash cycleRepresents the various stages of the lifecycle of cash, from issuance by the central bank, circulation in the economy, to destruction by the central bank. More participants for their commitment to ensure that society has uninterrupted access to cash.” Increased cash withdrawals “were not made for the purpose of executing transactions, particularly in the initial period of the epidemic, but primarily for value storage and precautionary purposes, resulting from bank customers’ concerns about the crisis situation” (NBP 2020: 2).
Per the NBP, currency in circulation rose 11% in February 2022 because of “unprecedented withdrawals” that caused “problems with the availability of cash in ATMs” in the first weeks of the Russian invasion, reported the Financial Times. The increase results from the public’s dash for cash amid uncertainty and the exodus of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Poland has received more than 2.1 million Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion began February 24. Many refugees left in haste, often carrying funds in cash. On March 8, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) urged refugees to “deposit their hryvnia cash into their card accounts in Ukraine rather than moving it out of the country as they leave.”
On March 18, the NBP and the NBU agreed on a mechanism to enable Ukrainian refugees to exchange Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) for Polish zloty (PLN) at the “rounded, official exchange rate (and not the one offered by exchange offices).” Starting on March 25, Ukrainian refugees could exchange up to UAH10,000 in selected branches of PKO Bank Polski, the largest Polish bank.
Over three days, more than 13,000 Ukrainian citizens exchanged their hryvnias. No participant charged exchange fees. NBP will resell the purchased hryvnias to the NBU at 0.14 PLN per 1 UAH.