Growth of cashless payments continues into 2018

The use of cashless payment instruments gained further ground in 2018, as evidenced by the Deutsche Bundesbank’s Statistics on Payments and Securities Trading, Clearing and Settlement. Just under 23 billion cashless transactions (up by 1.2 billion or 5.8% on 2017) were processed by German payment service providers. However, the total value of such payments rose only slightly on the year by 0.4%, amounting to €55.8 trillion. This shows that the average cashless payment amount is in decline.

Direct debits were the most frequently used cashless payment instrument with a share of more than 47% of the total of all cashless payment instruments, followed by credit transfers (29%) and card payments (24%). Cheques only play a minor role within cashless payments.

The growing interest in cashless payment methods is becoming particularly apparent in the field of card payments; in 2018, a total of almost 5.3 billion payments, with an average value of around €59 (€3 less than in 2017), were made with cards issued by domestic payment service providers. This corresponds to growth of just over 18%, which is primarily attributable to an increase in debit card payments. The number of debit cards issued rose by 1.6 million (+1.5%) by the end of the year; for credit cards, this figure was 839,000 (+2.4%). At the same time, fewer “GeldKarte” cards were in use. The number of cards on which e-money can be stored directly declined by around 1.2 million to 76.5 million. Bank cards are increasingly being issued without the GeldKarte function when they are routinely replaced.

Alongside card payments, credit transfers (+2.5% to around 6.5 billion) and direct debits (+3.0% to 10.6 billion) were also performed more frequently in 2018. Although both the number of credit transfers to recipients abroad (+19%) and received direct debit payments from abroad (+22%) increased considerably, they continued to make up only a minor portion of total transactions, at 197 million and 269 million transactions respectively.

For the Deutsche Bundesbank’s Statistics on Payments and Securities Trading, Clearing and Settlement, which are collected on an annual basis, all banks and other payment service providers resident in Germany report the number of accounts held with them and the related transactions made by non-payment service providers. In 2018, 1,646 credit institutions and other payment service providers submitted data (-45 overall). During that year, they operated 58,644 ATMs (+541), from which 2.1 billion withdrawals (-43 million) with an average value of €185 were made. The average amount withdrawn rose by more than €5 on the year.