Banco de España
Uso del efectivo y de otros medios de pago: ¿cómo está cambiando la forma en que pagamos?

Cash is still king

The Bank of Spain analyses, based on a Eurozone-wide study conducted by the European Central Bank, how the payment behaviours of Spanish consumers are changing for purchases in physical point of sales (PPS), online purchases, and payment in person-to-person transactions (P2P). Cash continues to be the most widely used means of payment for PPS and P2P transactions in both Europe and Spain, although there has been a downward trend in recent years.

Key findings:

  • In both Europe and Spain in 2022, cash is the most widely used means of payment for PPS and P2P transactions. In Europe, 59% of PPS payments are made in cash (72% in 2019), while in Spain, 66% of PPS payments are made in cash (83% in 2019). In Spain, 71% of P2P payments are made in cash, almost 20 pp less than in 2019.

    • In general, for PPS payments, both in Europe and in Spain, cash payments are used for purchases of a lower amount than card payments. The second most used means of payment is the card, which is involved in 28% of purchases (increasing 13 pp compared to 2019). Also noteworthy is the evolution of payments with mobile applications, which already account for 3.7% of PPS payments whereas in 2019 their use was marginal.

    • In Spain, direct debits are used for the majority of recurring payments. Specifically, 77.5% of this type of payments are direct debits.

  • In Spain, the decline in the use of cash is mainly due to two factors:

    • The increase in online shopping, which limits the possibilities of using cash. For instance, in 2022, 80% of non-recurring payments were made at PPS, declining almost 7 percentage points since 2019. In contrast, online purchases increased by almost the same proportion, to 16% of the total.

    • A change in the consumers payment behaviours, who have increased their use of digital means of payment for all kind of purchases.

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