So far, Germans have preferred to pay in cash. But in 2018, electronic payments have outstripped coinage.

According to the EHI Retail Institute, the German retail sector generated 48.6 percent of its sales last year through electronic payments. In total, this was 209.2 billion euros and an increase of 12.4 billion euros compared to 2017. Cash, on the other hand, washed only 48.3 percent of sales into the retailer’s cash registers. For the first time, card payments are ahead. The remaining 3.1 percent is distributed among invoices, financial purchases and vouchers. In particular, Girocard payments are becoming increasingly attractive. Here the share has risen by 3.8 percentage points or 19.2 billion euros compared to the previous year. The experts see several factors influencing this. On the one hand, the Girocard PIN procedure has become significantly more attractive for merchants following the capping of fees. In contrast to the direct debit method, the PIN-based payment method also enables practical contactless payment, which has motivated customers to make more card payments. In addition, contactless payment is generally used more frequently for small amounts.

Contactless electronic payments are becoming more popular for credit cards

By contrast, electronic payments by credit card increased only slightly – from 6.5 to 6.9 percent. The merchants achieved a turnover of around 9.8 billion euros last year via this option. This also includes mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. Credit card payers seem to be very innovative. This is where the contactless rate is highest at 28.2 percent. The increasing customer demand for contactless and mobile payment was a reason for many merchants to invest more in their payment infrastructure again. This year, one in five companies is still planning changes or additions to this infrastructure.

Most purchases are still paid for with cash

For the first time, electronic payments account for the largest share of sales. However, most transactions still take place in cash. Of the approximately 20 billion purchases in 2018, 76.1 percent were made in cash. However, this share is also declining, falling by 1.1 percentage points. Interesting are the costs for such a checkout process, as determined by the EHI Retail Institute. Each cash payment costs an average of 24 cents and takes 22 seconds. “Cash payments are currently still the most cost-effective payment option for retailers on a transaction-by-transaction basis. Turnover-related, the ratio is reversed”, says Frank Horst, EHI, author of the study “Costs of cash payments in retail trade”. According to estimates, there are currently around 725,000 cash registers in the approximately 355,000 retail businesses.


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Link: The EHI Retail Institute has investigated the different payment methods in retail.

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