How Germans Use Cash — How It’s Changing

Cash is still number one when it comes to paying for the day-to-day essentials in Germany. The big question is whether – and how – that might change as mobile wallets get more traction. This special edition of Global Cash Index™ digs into that issue.

With an increase in smartphone penetration, Germany is seeing a slew of alternate payment forms built around mobile payments and digital wallets. Yet, cash remains the go-to payment option for routine purchases in the country, and at a far greater clip than in its European country counterparts.


About 72 percent of Germans consider cash as a safer payment form.

Here’s a preview of the Germany analysis:

According to the PYMNTS Global Cash Index, “cash is going to be among us for a long time.”

Our analysis of
 the data shows that cash is the most common form of payment in terms of total value. Last year, Germans used €648.4 billion in cash, compared to €278.6 billion spent through cards. 

One reason Germans tend to use cash so frequently is because they carry more of it than people from other countries, according to our latest findings. An average German keeps about $123 in cash on hand. And that love for cash fuels high ATM usage, with the average withdrawal amount valued at more than $250.

Cause for concern?

Despite Germans’ propensity for cash, total cash share has been declining at rates greater than Germany’s GDP growth for the last decade, thanks to the emergence of digital payments options. In turn, this has led to a decrease of total cash usage at a yearly rate of less than 1 percent.

When considering this slowing market growth, total cash use in Germany is expected to decrease from €648 billion in 2014-15 to €631.1 billion in 2020.

But what drives overall cash usage is both growth in spend and how much of that spend is done in cash. That’s why cash usage overall can grow while the “slice” of the cash piece – the transactions done in cash – can diminish. For Germany, the cause for concern, potentially and longer-term, is whether the lack of growth – and therefore lack of spending overall – will cause a steeper decline in the use of cash.

To download the analysis, click below…

Cardtronics Germany Cash Report

About the Index

The Global Cash Index™, a Cardtronics collaboration, focuses on the use of cash for making payments and as a payment method that equally plays a role with cards, checks, direct debit and other methods of settling up between consumers and businesses. Unlike most reported estimates of cash, our proprietary data analysis focuses on the use of cash for making payments rather than hoarding.



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