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Retail payments - Understanding payments

What are retail payments?

Retail payments are “everyday” payments between individuals – private persons, companies, NGOs, government agencies – of relatively low value and typically not of a time-critical nature. For instance, retail payments are made by consumers to retailers, or to utility or media providers. Salary payments, tax payments and social contributions made by businesses also belong to this category.

Means of payment

A payment enables the transfer of funds from a payer to a payee. The payer and the payee can also be one and the same person. The most used retail payments in the euro area are payment cards, credit transfers, direct debits and banknotes and coins (cash). There are payments that require the physical handling of paper, such as cash and cheques, but an increasing number of payments can be done entirely electronically (e.g. mobile, online banking or contactless card payments).