Estonia stands out in Europe for its use of bankcards

Tiina Soosalu
Payment and Settlement Systems Department

In the first quarter of 2018 private individuals withdrew an average of 7.7 million euros a day from ATMs in Estonia and made an average of 11.3 million euros of card payments each day. Estonia stands out within Europe for these statistics. Research by the European Central Bank shows the only country where cash is used less at points of sale than in Estonia is the Netherlands.

Statistics on the use of cash and bankcards vary widely from country to country in the euro area. Residents of Malta make 92% of their purchases using cash, while people in Estonia use cash for only 48% of payments at points of sale. Other countries alongside Malta where cash is popular are Greece and Spain, while people in Finland and the Netherlands join those in Estonia in preferring card payments.

The number of ATMs in Estonia has fallen by a fifth in the past decade, but the number of cash withdrawals from ATMs has fallen even further, dropping by 31%. The turnover of ATMs has increased by 15% though, which means that larger amounts are being withdrawn at a time. The average withdrawal by private individuals was 56 euros in 2009, but in the first quarter of this year it had climbed to 94 euros.

The research also looked at how much cash people on average have on them. Residents of the euro area have an average of 65 euros in their wallet, with Germans carrying the largest sum of 103 euros, and the Portuguese the smallest at 29 euros. People in Estonia have 43 euros in their wallet on average. Men and older people carry more cash on them on average than others.

The research by the European Central Bank into the countries of the euro area can be found on the website of the European Central Bank.

For further information:
Eva Vahur
Public Relations Office
Tel: 668 0965, 5330 0619
Email: eva.vahur [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries: press [at] eestipank.ee