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Confidence in cash remains high, even with decreasing use


Published: 03 May 2024

Contant betalen met bankbiljetten

More than three quarters of the Dutch population expect they will still make cash payments five years from now, but 42% think they will do so less often than today. This was revealed by a survey on the use and perception of cash among some 1,000 Dutch citizens, held in February 2021 commissioned by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Expected use of banknotes

In particular, people aged 30 to 49 (79%) expect to still be using cash for their payments in five years’ time (see Figure 1). For young people (18-29 years) this percentage is lower (71%). The respondents who expect to be paying less in cash or no longer cash think that electronic payments will become increasingly easy.

Figure 1 - Expect to be paying cash 5 years from now (n=1,003)

Expect to be paying cash 5 years from now (n=1,003)

Source: Panteia 2021

Previous research shows that the decline in the use of cash at points of sale has accelerated, partly due to the coronavirus crisis, from 32% in 2019 to 21% in 2020.  Nevertheless, the vast majority of Dutch people still carry banknotes (76%) and coins (85%) (Table 1), albeit less than in 2019 (banknotes: 83%; coins: 90%). This is in line with the advice of DNB to always hold a small amount of cash for emergencies. Two thirds of respondents keep the notes and coins in a wallet and slightly over 1 in 10 people have the coins loose in their pockets.

Do you usually carry banknotes/coins? If so, how do you carry them? N=1,003

High denominations not in demand

In the past year, 39% of Dutch citizens held a €100 note (Table 2). against 45% two years ago. The highest denominations, €500 and €200, are still held by 6% and 14% (2019: 12 % and 20%) of the people. The decline in the use of the high denominations compared to the 2019 survey is due, on the one hand, to the fact that high denominations are not commonly available from bank branches or ATMs, and on the other hand by the Eurosystem’s decision to have central banks no longer issue the €500 banknote. The reputation of the two highest denominations is not undisputed either. Approximately half of the Dutch population links the use of the €200 and €500 banknotes to illegal activities. The Dutch respondents also indicate that the highest denominations are increasingly difficult to spend. As a result, demand from Dutch citizens for the two highest denominations is very low; only 3% indicate they need them. The need for notes that can easily be used at points of sale is much greater.

Which of the following euro banknotes have you ever held/held in the past year? (2019, n=1,001; 2021 n=1,003)

For example, no less than 68% of Dutch people like having a €5 note in their pocket. It is therefore important that this smallest denomination banknote is highly available, for example in ATMs.

Confidence in the authenticity of banknotes

Confidence in the authenticity of euro banknotes is high in the Netherlands, at an average score of 7.7 (out of 10), and has continued to increase over the past ten years. This may explain why most Dutch people (59%) say they have never checked a banknote for authenticity. However, 90% of the Dutch can spontaneously mention at least one of the security features of a euro note. The watermark and hologram are mentioned most frequently, by 69% and 39% of respondents respectively. The Dutch are also very positive about the quality of the banknotes, for example the lack of dirt, crumples, graffiti or sticky tape. 82% of respondents think the bills look (reasonably) clean and only a few find them (very) dirty (2%). Of those surveyed, 29% consider the €20 banknote the most beautiful one, followed by the €50 banknote (17%). More than half of all citizens find the €5 banknote least attractive (53%).

Knowledge and appreciation of euro banknotes in the Netherland

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Infographic Knowledge and appreciation of euro banknotes among the Dutch (2021)

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