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12 April 2022 General
Contactloos betalen

(c) Shutterstock

Dutch people increasingly prefer paying contactless,  using either debit cards or devices such as  mobile phones, smartwatches  and wearables. The use of cash slightly declined during 2021, with one in five payments being made in cash. For people on lower incomes, this share is considerably higher. They paid for almost one in three purchases at checkouts in cash, according to a joint study performed by the Dutch Payments Association (Betaalvereniging Nederland – BVN) and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Number of cash payments fairly stable in 2021

In 2021, consumers in the Netherlands made slightly fewer payments at the checkout counter than in 2020. This decline is partly due to the longer lockdown periods to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In 2021, consumers made 1.2 billion purchases in cash, compared to 1.3 billion cash purchases in 2020 – a decrease of almost 11%. The number of debit card payments in 2021 was 4.5 billion, which is almost the same as in 2020. As a result, the share of all payments in cash at checkout counters fell from an average of 22% in 2020 to 20% in 2021. Prior to the pandemic, 30% of payments at checkout counters were still paid in cash.

The total value of debit card payments rose from €116.7 billion in 2020 to €122.7 billion in 2021. The value of cash payments at checkouts decreased slightly, from €21.4 billion in 2020 to €20.1 billion in 2021. The average purchase price has risen sharply in recent years. In 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the average purchase amount was €21.64. In 2021, the Dutch spent an average of €25.55 at checkout counters, an increase of more than 18%. This means the Dutch made fewer purchases, but spent more money per purchase. The increase can be partly explained by inflation: in 2021 consumer prices were 2.7% higher on average than in 2020.

Number of payments

Increasing popularity of various forms of contactless payment

An increasing number of Dutch people indicate they prefer paying contactless, either with their debit cards or with their mobile phones. By the beginning of 2020, half of all Dutch people preferred paying contactless: 40% preferred contactless payment by debit card and 9% by mobile phone. By the end of 2021, the preference for contactless payments was 14 percentage points higher: at the time, 49% of Dutch people preferred  paying contactless with their debit cards and 14% with their mobile phones. The rise in popularity of these contactless payment methods has come at the expense of traditional, contact-based card payments, where the card must be inserted into a payment terminal.

Payment method preferences since the beginning of 2020

Cash is still widely used by people on lower incomes

Dutch people on relatively low incomes pay in cash most often . They are more likely than others to say that using cash gives them better control over their spending than debit card payments. The Dutch aged 75 and over used to be the group that used cash the most, but over the past two years their use of cash has halved, to 28% of  their purchases. With just over one in ten cash payments, people in the highest income group use cash the least.

Relative use of payment methods by gender, age and income

Download the “Point-of-sale payments in 2021” fact sheet to read the full findings of the joint DNB and Dutch Payments Association study into the use of cash and electronic payments in the Netherlands for point-of-sale (POS) and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments in 2021.

Point-of-sale payments in 2021

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