Outdated browser

You are using an outdated browser. DNB.nl works best with:

No more decline in cash acceptance at most Dutch points of sale, except for car parks, cinemas and pharmacies

DNBulletin

The total number of retailers and service providers in the Netherlands that do not accept cash remained unchanged from last year. Trends are shifting in some sectors, however. Cash is no longer accepted at 25% of car parks, up from 16% a year ago. Similarly, cash is less commonly accepted at cinemas and pharmacies.

Published: 18 March 2024

Mensen in de rij voor parkeerautomaat

Like last year, 4% of Dutch retailers have put up a PIN-only notice. Security is a key reason for not accepting cash, a DNB study shows. Retailers who do accept cash do so mainly for customer convenience and because coins and banknotes are legal tender.

Each year, we monitor cash acceptance at shops and service providers in the Netherlands. We commissioned research agency Locatus to call on more than 5,100 shops, service providers and market stalls across the Netherlands in late 2023 to take stock of the payment options they offer. They measured this based on the presence of notices and stickers saying 'PIN-only' or 'PIN? Yes, please'.

PIN-only policy on the rise at cinemas, parking facilities, pharmacies and entertainment venues

As with the measurement in late 2022, most PIN-only notices are seen at cinemas, car parks, pharmacies, libraries and entertainment venues. Trends are shifting in these sectors, however. At libraries, for instance, a slight decrease was observed, meaning they accept cash more often than a year ago. In the other four sectors, the proportion of PIN-only is actually increasing (see Figure 1). European lawmakers are currently considering the possibilities of introducing a cash acceptance obligation for retailers. We believe it is important to harmonise the rules in this area across the European Union as much as possible.  

Top 5 sectors that do not accept cash

Safety is primary reason for refusing cash

To better understand retailers' choices, we commissioned research agency Panteia to conduct an in-depth study by holding a telephone survey of 1,148 retailers and service providers. This study reveals that  the 40 entrepreneurs who refuse to accept cash say they do so mainly for safety reasons, citing various risks, such as the risk of robbery or burglary (38%) and theft by staff (31%). A slightly less frequently cited reason is that most customers prefer paying by debit or credit card (16%). Figure 2 shows the top 5 reasons cited for refusing to accept cash.

Customer convenience is key motivation for accepting cash

The vast majority of retailers who accept cash say they do so mainly out of customer convenience (69%) and because banknotes and coins are legal tender (59%). 15% of retailers say their business has traditionally accepted cash payments (see Figure 3).

Top 5 Reasons for accepting cash (n=985)

How about three years from now?

Those who accept cash were also asked whether they plan to do so in the future. The vast majority expect to do so. Figure 4 shows that 1% say they will definitely refuse cash in three years' time, while 3% think they probably will. These answers were given mainly by businesses in the entertainment sector and large retailers. A group of 7% are unsure, while 89% believe they will probably or definitely still accept cash.

Cash acceptance policy in three years' time (n=985)

Clear communication is key

It is important that customers are told unambiguously which payment options are available. Roughly one in four retailers (24%) encourage their customers to pay electronically for their items by posting signs and notices. This share has decreased compared to 2022, when 30% of shops used such signs. Retailers use a wide variety of payment notices. 8% express a clear preference for electronic payments, using signs saying things such as 'PIN? Yes, please'. However, it is not always clear whether  retailers still also accept cash payments, as they often display notices stating 'Pay by PIN' or simply 'PIN'. 12% of retailers use display ambiguous notices (down from 15% in 2022).

If retailers do not accept cash, they should inform their customers clearly in advance, e.g. by displaying a sticker or sign at the shop entrance. This warns customers before they even enter. In the 2022 Cash Covenant, retail representatives call on their members to abide by this practice. Our study shows that 37% of PIN-only retailers fail to comply with this requirement, informing customers about their policy only at the time of payment.

Our commitment on cash acceptance
At DNB, we believe it is important that people can continue to pay with cash. Paying should be easy for everyone, and many consumers like to have the option of paying with cash. Retail representatives have therefore pledged in the 2022 Cash Covenant to ensure their members continue to accept cash. DNB monitors developments annually.

Discover related articles