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Publication of study on euro area payment preferences

1 April 2022

The ECB has published a qualitative study on euro area citizens’ payment preferences and habits. The study explored user perspectives on new digital payment methods and is part of the ongoing investigation phase of the digital euro project. As mentioned in the press release of 30 March 2022, the main findings of the study are as follows:

  • citizens want universally accepted payment methods in online and physical stores across Europe;
  • users prefer instant and contactless person-to-person payments;
  • high safety and security standards are seen as fundamental for digital payment methods.

Executive Board member Fabio Panetta spoke before the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament on Wednesday, 30 March 2022. Mr Panetta said: “Step by step, we are getting a clearer picture of what citizens and merchants want, so we can fine-tune the design features of a digital euro.”

The study analysed payment preferences and habits from four different target groups: (i) the general public, (ii) the tech-savy, (iii) merchants and (iv) unbanked, underbanked and offline citizens. Respondents generally considered it important that payment methods are safe and secure, universally accepted, and fast and easy to use. Overall, the respondents had little knowledge of the digital euro project. However, they believed that banks and central banks would be safe and reliable providers of new payment methods.

The study commissioned was a qualitative research study, based on focus groups and online communities across all euro area countries. The ECB is committed to involving the public in the investigation phase of the digital euro project, which is expected to conclude in October 2023.