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Cash continues to dominate POS payments in Europe

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Supporters of digital payment schemes like to push the idea that a cash-free future is just around the corner, yet fully three-quarters of all Euro zone payments at the point-of-sale are still made in cash, according to the European Central bank.

The data comes from a survey conducted by the ECB to mark the launch of the new €50 bank note.

“Even in this digital age, cash remains essential in our economy,” Mario Draghi, President of the ECB says. “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.”

The survey is based on a daily diary completed by 65,281 respondents between October 2015 and July 2016. Respondents were asked to note all payments made at points-of-sale, such as supermarkets, shops for durable goods, bars, restaurants and street markets. The ECB survey covered 17 countries. National studies with similar methodology were conducted by the national central banks in Germany and the Netherlands.

The €50 is the most widely used euro banknote denomination. With over 9 billion of them in circulation, they account for 46% of all euro banknotes.

New €100 and €200 banknotes featuring improved security against counterfeiting are set be issued at the beginning of 2019.