Cash is still the most commonly used means of payment for retail purchases New study by the Deutsche Bundesbank on payment behaviour in Germany in 2011

"Consumers prefer to pay in cash in Germany. Private individuals use cash for 53% of expenditure on goods and services purchases. Thus cash remains the most popular and commonly used method of payment,” explained Carl-Ludwig Thiele, the Bundesbank Executive Board member responsible for cash and cashless payments, when presenting the Bundesbank study “Payment behaviour in Germany in 2011” in Frankfurt. In the case of cashless payment instruments, the girocard (previously EC cash card) has assumed the leading role, ahead of the credit card. It is used for 28% of total payments, the credit card for 7%.

A comparison with the first such survey from 2008 shows that cash still plays a major role for retail purchases in Germany, but is conceding shares to cashless payments. Four years ago, consumers used cash for 58% and the girocard for 25.5% of their total purchases.

“This development will continue slowly but continuously in the medium term,” predicted Carl-Ludwig Thiele. “This trend should not be taken for granted, however. Ultimately, consumers and retailers decide themselves which payment instruments they want to use and offer.”

On average, private individuals carry €103 in cash, of which around €5.90 is in coins. That is a total of €15 less than in 2008, when private individuals had €118 in their wallets and purses on average.

Most of the people surveyed do not decide how they are going to pay until they reach the cash desk. The amount of cash in one’s wallet or purse is the decisive criterion. The second most important criterion is the amount to be paid. High amounts are mainly settled on a cashless basis while smaller amounts are more likely to be settled with coins and notes.

40% of the survey respondents said that they decide in advance how they intend to pay. 28% of the respondents generally pay in cash while 12% prefer cashless means of payment.

Purely internet payment procedures are gaining in importance due to the ever growing online trade, but only constitute 1.7% of payments.

Contactless payment procedures with mobile phones or payment cards are relatively well known but find little use. Below you will find the full results and background information on the study.