Cashless trend growing in US, Europe: Survey

LONDON • More than a third of Europeans and Americans would be happy to go without cash and rely on electronic forms of payment if they could, and at least 20 per cent already pretty much do so, a study showed yesterday.

The study, which was conducted in 13 European countries, the United States and Australia, also found that in many places where cash is most used, people are among the keenest to ditch it.

Overall, 34 per cent of respondents in Europe and 38 per cent of those in the US said they would be willing to go cash-free, according to the survey conducted by Ipsos for the ING bank website eZonomics.

Also, 21 per cent and 34 per cent of survey respondents in Europe and the US, respectively, said they already rarely use cash.

The trend was clear. More than half of the European respondents said they had used less cash in the past 12 months than previously, and 78 per cent of them said they expected to use it even less over the coming 12 months.

Payment systems such as contactless cards and mobile-phone digital wallets have become so prevalent that the issue has become political in some countries.

Cash-loving Germans, for example, have been concerned that a move by the European Central Bank to phase out the 500 euro note by the end of next year is the start of a slippery slope.

Germany is one of the countries where people uses cash the most. In the ING survey, only 10 per cent of Germans said they rarely use cash, compared, for example, with 33 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively, in neighbours Poland and France.

But the survey also showed that, in general, countries where cash is much in use were most likely to want to go cashless.

Only 19 per cent of Italians said they rarely used cash but 41 per cent said they would be willing to go cash-free. There was a similar trend in Turkey, Romania, the Czech Republic, Spain and even Germany.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Cashless trend growing in US, Europe: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe