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Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)

Purpose

Cash is attracting increasing interest from policymakers and academics, with cash-related policies becoming ever more common worldwide. However, literature on the different uses of cash, its benefits and costs to society and the effectiveness of proposed policies is still relatively scarce.

Against this background, the Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA) was launched in July 2017 to pool research efforts and promote studies on cash-related topics. The topics discussed and researched by EURECA are of scientific interest in general, but also serve as evidence for informing policy decisions.

Participation

This network includes economists and cash experts from the ECB and Eurosystem national central banks (NCBs). External collaborators working on cash-related topics are also encouraged to participate.

Topics

EURECA members conduct research on a range of topics related to cash and share information on ongoing research by NCBs and academic researchers. Examples include:

Modelling and forecasting the demand for euro banknotes

Although there is ample literature on broader money demand, empirical work on the factors driving the demand for cash is still relatively scarce, in particular for the different euro banknote denominations. In 2019, under the umbrella of EURECA, a work stream developed a new framework for forecasting the demand for euro banknotes.

Surveys on the use of cash

The ECB and NCBs conduct studies together and individually on cash usage to understand the demand for cash and the payment behaviour of consumers in the euro area in general.

Cash holdings outside the euro area

A substantial share of euro banknotes is held outside the euro area. Estimating the share of demand from abroad and understanding the motives for it is one of the main focuses of this network’s research.

References

EURECA is primarily a platform to share information. As part of these efforts, the network maintains a comprehensive list of references for research conducted on cash in the European Union.

ECB publications on cash-related topics

13 January 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 253
Details
Abstract
In order to understand why there is a continuous increase in euro banknote circulation even though the use of cash for transactions is decreasing in the euro area – a phenomenon known as the paradox of banknotes – the members of the Overseas workstream of the Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA) have conducted a study on the foreign demand for euro banknotes. The results of this study are based on desk research using data collected in the Eurosystem and from other organisations, and using both proven and innovative techniques.
JEL Code
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
E47 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
E49 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Other
E59 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Other
F24 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→Remittances
Network
Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)
2 December 2020
OTHER PUBLICATION
24 September 2018
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 6, 2018
Details
Abstract
This article presents the developments in the circulation of euro banknotes and the underlying drivers of cash demand in the euro area and abroad. Cash in circulation is on the rise, both in the euro area and abroad. In addition, data from a survey on the use of cash in the euro area indicates that by volume and number of transactions cash remained the most used payment instrument in 2016. However, the growth in banknote circulation can only partially be explained by transaction demand. Most euro banknotes in circulation are used as a store of value and households and firms inside and outside of the euro area obviously value the option of storing part of their assets in central bank money. Considering the currently low opportunity costs of holding cash, the stored euro banknotes can be expected to return if interest rates were to increase. However, as shown by developments over the past ten years, the store of value function is determined not only by interest rates, but also by external events which cannot be predicted. The demand for banknotes has also been impacted by various additional factors such as the financial and sovereign debt crises, geopolitical uncertainties, exchange rate developments and policy decisions
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
E42 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Monetary Systems, Standards, Regimes, Government and the Monetary System, Payment Systems
Network
Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)
24 November 2017
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 201
Details
Abstract
Although euro banknotes and coins have been in circulation for fifteen years, not much is known about the actual use of cash by households. This paper presents an estimation of the number and value of cash transactions in all 19 euro area countries in 2016, based on survey results. It presents an extensive description of how euro area consumers pay at points of sale (POS). The aim of this study is to shed light on consumers’ payment behaviour and in particular to improve the understanding of consumers’ payment choices at POS, based on a large sample of countries. Therefore, it provides central banks and relevant payment system stakeholders with fundamental information for the development of their policies and strategic decisions that can contribute to improving the efficiency of the cash cycle and the payment system as a whole. Previous estimates of the value of cash usage by households in the euro area date from 2008. Since then some central banks have carried out their own research on cash usage. This paper is the first study to measure the transaction demand for cash in the euro area. The results show that in 2016 around 79% of all payments at POS were made with cash, 19% with cards and 2% with other payment instruments. In terms of value, the market share of main payment instruments was 54% for cash, 39% for cards and 7% for other instruments. However, results show substantial differences between euro area countries.
JEL Code
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
Network
Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)
Annexes
5 June 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1685
Details
Abstract
We measure consumers’ use of cash by harmonizing payment diary surveys from seven countries. The seven diary surveys were conducted in 2009 (Canada), 2010 (Australia), 2011 (Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands), and 2012 (the United States). Our paper finds cross-country differences – for example, the level of cash usage differs across countries. Cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. We also find that the use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-ofsale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.
JEL Code
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
Network
Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)
5 June 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1683
Details
Abstract
This paper investigates the determinants in migrants’ choice of payment channel when transferring money to relatives abroad. We surveyed 1,680 migrants in the Netherlands, identifying five remittance channels: bank services, money transfer operator (MTO) services, in-cash transfers via informal intermediaries, ATM cash withdrawals abroad and carrying cash when travelling back home. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to present evidence of the role played by general payment habits: migrants who regularly use internet banking for other purposes are more likely to use bank services for remittances as well. However, we also demonstrate that other important drivers exist in determining the choice of payment channels, such as personal characteristics and country-specific factors, (perceived) costs, ease of use and the availability of remittance options. Based on our findings, we suggest that financial education, cost reduction and new (mobile) remittance solutions may serve a valuable role.
JEL Code
F24 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→Remittances
E42 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Monetary Systems, Standards, Regimes, Government and the Monetary System, Payment Systems
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
Network
Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)
21 April 2004
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 330
Details
Abstract
The present paper analyses currency in circulation in the euro area since the beginning of the 1980s. After a comprehensive literature review on this topic we present some stylised facts on currency holdings in the euro area countries as well as at an aggregate euro area level. The next chapter develops a theoretical model, which extends traditional money demand models to also incorporate arguments for the informal economy and foreign demand for specific currencies. In the empirical sections we first estimate the demand for euro legacy currencies in total and for small and large denominations within a cointegration framework. We find significant differences between the determinants of holdings of small and large denominations as well as overall currency demand. While small-value banknotes are mainly driven by domestic transactions, the demand for large-value banknotes depends on a short-term interest rate, the exchange rate of the euro as a proxy for foreign demand and inflation variability. Large-value banknotes seem to be therefore used to an important extent as a store of value domestically and abroad. As monetary policy is mainly interested in getting information on the demand for currency used for domestic transactions we also try several approaches in this direction. All the methods applied result in rather low levels of transaction balances used within the euro area of around 25% to 35% of total currency. After this we deal with possibly changing cost-benefit-considerations of the use of cash due to the introduction of euro notes and coins. Overall, there seems no evidence so far of a substantial decline of the demand for currency in the euro area.
JEL Code
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
Network
Eurosystem Research Network on Cash (EURECA)
List of recent NCBs publications in the field of cash

Contact

If you are interested in the network’s activities, you can contact EURECA by email at bn-issuedivision@ecb.int