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Henk Esselink

24 November 2017
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 201
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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
24 September 2018
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 6, 2018
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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)