Eesti Pank finds that about 5% of people in Estonia get their incomes in cash

  • The majority of the population most commonly pay for their everyday purchases with a bankcard or in cash
  • At 92%, the great majority of people get their incomes paid to a bank account, but there are still 5% who get their incomes in cash
  • Almost one third, or 32%, of residents of Estonia hold their savings in cash
  • It is mostly young people who are opposed to getting rid of one and two-cent coins

“The payment habits of the people in Estonia are largely fixed already, and although there have been no major changes in recent years, there are some trends that can be identified”, said Tiina Soosalu of the Payment and Settlement Systems Department of Eesti Pank at a presentation today of a survey of the financial behaviour of residents of Estonia.

“The majority of the population most commonly pay for their everyday purchases with a bankcard or in cash. Around a tenth of people only use cash to pay for their purchases, and about the same number only ever use a bank card. Cash was used a lot more a decade ago, as more than half of the people in Estonia then paid only or mostly in cash for everyday purchases”, she continued.
“At 92%, the great majority of people get their incomes paid to a bank account, but there are still 5% who get their incomes in cash. The share of the population receiving their wages or pensions in cash has remained fairly unchanged over the past decade. The reason people receive their income in cash may be because it suits them or their employer better, or because they do not have a bank account”.

Of those who receive their wages on their bank account, 93% use ATMs to get cash, though of late, and especially in rural areas, they have also started to get cashback from shops. This service is particularly popular in southern Estonia, where some 12% of the population have used it, and also in western Estonia.

Martti Näksi, a specialist in cash handling at Eesti Pank, said that 32% of people in Estonia hold their savings in cash. Of those who do that, 43% do so in order to have a better picture of their savings, 19% because interest rates on bank deposits are low, and 11% because bank service fees are too high. Since 2015 the number of families who have money spare after paying for essentials and loan repayments has risen gradually.

“Some 94% of people say that access to cash has not changed or has improved, and over two thirds of the population say they have good or very good access to cash. Only 1% say that their access to cash is bad or very bad”, said Mr Näksi.

Karin Reivart, research manager at Turu-uuringute AS, said that it is surprising that it is most often the young who are opposed to the idea of getting rid of one and two-cent coins, with almost half of the 18-24 age group against it. Among the population as a whole, only 31% were opposed to getting rid of one and two-cent coins. "Young people are generally in favour of making payments as fast and simple as possible, but here the results directly contradict that", she said.

Additional information:
Mart Siilivask
Eesti Pank
Tel: 668 0965
Mobile: 5697 9146
Email: mart.siilivask [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries: press [at] eestipank.ee