The fact that payment habits in the Netherlands are changing is also evident from the shifts in the share of cash payments in total point-of-sale payments. In 2011, 62% of all purchases were paid for in cash, compared with 65% in 2010. On the other hand, the number of debit card payments went up from 32% to 35%. Debit card payments have especially gained ground where smaller amounts are concerned. Although the vast majority of small transactions is still paid for in cash, debit card payments already account for over one-quarter of all payments below EUR 20.
Cash payments further down
|Date||12 June 2012|
In 2011, debit card payments in the Netherlands reached an all-time high. In one year’s time, the number of debit card payments increased from 2.15 billion to 2.29 billion, while the total amount involved went up from EUR 81 billion to EUR 83 billion. A recent inquiry conducted by DNB has shown that this increase was attended by a decrease in cash payments. In 2011, the number of point-of-sale cash payments went down from 4.4 billion to 4.1 billion and the total amount involved decreased from EUR 53 billion to EUR 51 billion.
From cash to debit card: Everyone everywhere
The shift from cash to debit card payments is evident in practically all sectors and types of shops. Even in places where, on average, the amounts to be paid are small, the Dutch increasingly tend to use their debit card instead of cash; cases in point are bakeries, pubs, vending machines and the marketplace. Moreover, the use of cash has decreased among all sections of the population. Even though the elderly, the lower-educated and people from the south of the country are the groups which still rely relatively heavily on cash (see Chart 2), they, too, increasingly used debit cards in 2011.
Greater satisfaction about payment options
In 2011, Dutch consumers were highly satifsied with the payment options offered in shops. In just 2% of all cases, they felt that insufficient payment options were offered, preventing them from paying in their favourite manner. In 2010, this had still been 3%. Especially the number of cash payments made in cases where consumers would have preferred to use their debit card has gone down. This is probably due to the fact that shops increasingly offer debit card payment options, because, as becomes evident from the inquiry, it is increasingly rare for consumers to be forced to resort to an alternative because the shopkeeper does not accept their preferred means of payment. However, this still is the most frequently cited reason (40%) why people are sometimes forced to pay in a way they do not prefer. However, having left the preferred means of payment at home is also frequently cited (21%) as a reason why payments are sometimes effected in a non-preferred manner.
Towards less cash, but not cashless
DNB stands for an efficient, secure, reliable and accessible payment system: anyone must be able to pay smoothly in a safe and reliable manner. Since debit card payments are generally cheaper and safer for banks and shopkeepers than cash payments, DNB is strongly in favour of a further crowding out of cash by debit card payments. However, this may not be achieved at the expense of the accessibility and continuity of the payment system. Thus, debit card payments can be encouraged further, for example, by installing debit-card-only cash desks in shops. However, it is also important that consumers should continue to be able to pay in cash. The fact is that cash still plays an essential role in certain situations and among certain sections of the population. Also, cash is still the means of payment that may be resorted to in the event of a breakdown of the electronic payment system. That is why DNB favours less cash, but does not favour cashless.”