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Use of cash by companies in the euro area

The ECB survey on the use of cash by euro area companies is the first of its kind and sheds light on companies’ strategic views on the current and future use and acceptance of cash.

Survey results

Cash acceptance

Cash is widely accepted by companies across the euro area. It will likely remain relevant as a payment method, since more than 90% of firms currently accepting cash intend to continue doing so in the future.

Company preferences

While cash is widely accepted, just over half of euro area companies prefer card as a payment method. A small number of firms prefer other payment methods, such as direct debit or mobile payments.

Acceptance criteria

Security and reliability are the most important criteria for firms when deciding whether to accept a means of payment. Cash is perceived by companies as performing better in terms of overall cost, transaction speed, and reliability.

Deposits and withdrawals

The vast majority of companies deposit their cash directly at banks via self-service machines or at bank counters. Meanwhile, some companies withdraw cash – mostly via bank counters – to ensure that they have enough change.

Full release

Read the full report and learn more about companies’ payment preferences.

Use of cash by companies in the euro area

About the survey

Cash is the only form of public money. Therefore, the key objective of the Eurosystem’s cash strategy is to ensure that this payment method remains widely accessible and accepted, both now and in the future.

The study on the use of cash by households (SUCH) in 2017 and the study on the payment attitudes of consumers in the euro area (SPACE) in 2020 analysed consumers’ payment behaviour and habits to assess how they use cash and other means of payment. However, this survey is the first of its kind to study the use of cash by companies in the euro area.

The survey collects data on the current and future use and acceptance of cash by euro area companies. It also investigates companies’ preferred payment methods and their criteria for deciding which payment methods to accept. The data for this survey were collected between October and December 2021 by Kantar Public.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact us at banknotes1@ecb.int

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