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Wholesale Banking

Germans still love cash, but new methods of payment are on the rise, particularly among younger generations

Compared with their European neighbours, Germans have a particularly strong affinity for coins and notes and also use them more frequently.

Frankfurt am Main, 18 September 2019 – Compared with their European neighbours, Germans have a particularly strong affinity for coins and notes and also use them more frequently. A representative survey by ING, however, shows that the use of cash among younger age groups is significantly lower than that of older people across all types of expenditure. If cash were abolished about a quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds would welcome it. The use and readiness to use mobile payment methods with a smartphone or contactlessly by means of a card is already more widespread among this group. 

The Germans and their cash – a special relationship

With their penchant for cash, the Germans are taking their own path among the 13 European countries included in the survey. In the case of everyday expenses, Germans tend to be far above average in terms of their use of cash. The difference to the European average is between 9 and 34 percentage points for restaurant, supermarket or taxi expenses. While older Germans in particular rely on cash, the lowest proportion of cash payers is seen in the age group of 25- to 34-year-olds. The values for day-to-day cash payments in this age group are also in some cases significantly lower than those in the first such survey in 2017. Even though no majority in any country is in favour of abolishing cash, this generation is showing the greatest share of supporters for a cashless future.

Contactless payment by smartphone or card is (still) a matter of preference

The majority of Germans are still cautious about smartphone payments. More than half of Germans are not yet using such a method or at least could not imagine using it. The option of using contactless bank or credit cards has been available for some time now. This form of contactless payment has reached a high level of acceptance in a relatively short time: of those who have at least one such card, more than half say they use the contactless payment option for at least every second payment transaction – provided that the respective retailer offers it. Only about one in five do not do so in principle.

Background Information

Investigation by Ipsos in February 2019. Respondents: financial decision-makers from 18 years of age. International respondents: 14,824, respondents in Germany: 1011

About ING in Germany

More than 9 million customers trust ING in Germany. This makes it the bank with the third largest number of customers in Germany. The core business areas in Retail Banking are building loans, current accounts, savings, consumer credits and securities. The institute is available to its customers 24 hours a day. The Wholesale Banking segment comprises the bank's corporate customer business. Customers include large, international companies. ING employs around 4000 people at its locations in Frankfurt (headquarters), Hanover, Nuremberg and Vienna.