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Paying with mobile as popular as cash at checkout


Published: 06 April 2023

Fruit en betalen

In 2022, Dutch people used their mobile phone or wearable device for contactless payment at points of sale as often as they paid in cash. The share of these new means of payment rose to 21%, while the use of banknotes and coins stabilised at 20% of total payments. Including the contactless variants, debit payments thus stabilised at 80% of all purchases. Young people, the over-65s and people who find it difficult to make ends meet still tend to prefer cash. This has been revealed by a joint study conducted by the Dutch Payments Association (Betaalvereniging Nederland) and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Use of cash and debit payments stabilised

Dutch consumers made more purchases at the checkout in 2022 than the previous year for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shops could open more often in 2022 than in 2021, and consumer prices were up 10% on average due to sharply higher inflation. This means that both the number and value of point-of-sale (POS) transactions increased in 2022. The absolute number of debit and cash payments were also up in 2022.

Proportionally, however, the use of cash and debit payments stabilised in 2022: as in 2021, around 20% of all purchases were paid by cash and 80% by debit. The proportion of cash checkout sales increased by 1 percentage point to 15% of the total value in 2022. Following a sharp decline in the use of cash during the pandemic, it was unclear whether this was a temporary change in consumer behaviour, but it now appears that this is not the case. The use of cash is relatively low in the Netherlands compared to other euro area countries.

Number of payments

New contactless payment methods are gaining in popularity

Consumers are increasingly making use of new contactless payment methods. Contactless payment by mobile phone or wearable device (such as a smartwatch or fitness tracker) took off in 2022: 21% of all POS payments were contactless and did not involve a physical debit card, which is 7 percentage points more than in 2021. This means that almost as many purchases were paid for in this way as with cash in 2022. One big difference, however, is that a large group of Dutch people made payments in cash, while a small group opted for contactless payments with a mobile phone or wearable device. This indicates that people who use their mobile phone or wearable for payments are doing so more frequently. The increased use of mobile phones or wearables at the checkout is also reflected in Dutch consumers’ payment preferences: almost one in five say they prefer to pay this way. In early 2020, this was less than one in ten.

People struggling to make ends meet are more likely to pay cash

At the same time, there are wide variations in the use of cash in society. For instance, 12-18-year-olds and the over-65s pay cash at the checkout about a quarter of the time. People who say they find it difficult to make ends meet also tend to pay in cash. This group pays cash for nearly a quarter of their purchases at the checkout, compared to about 16% among those who say they can easily make ends meet (see Figure 2). A well-known reason for using cash among this group is that it gives them more control over their spending. Throughout 2022, an increasing number of consumers reported finding it difficult to make ends meet, presumably due to sharply higher inflation.

76073 Figuren Bulletin Fig 2 Fig 2

To read the full findings of the joint DNB and Dutch Payment Association study into the use of cash and electronic payments in the Netherlands for point of sale and P2P payments in 2022, click on the link to download the “Point of sale payments in 2022” fact sheet.

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