The habits of Estonian households in using bankcards or cash have not changed significantly

Keywords: 
Tiina Soosalu
Tiina Soosalu
Eesti Pank Payment and Settlement Systems Department

The TNS Emor survey of the payment behaviour of Estonian households found no major changes in recent years in the payment habits of Estonian residents or the way they generally use bankcards or cash. People prefer more and more to use bankcards and are cutting down on cash. The survey discovered that 95% of Estonian residents get their income transferred to a bank account and 3% receive their income only in cash. Income in cash comes from selling or from rent or similar. Ten years ago, around one third of people in Estonia got their income only in cash.

One tenth of residents use only cash to pay for their purchases. In 2001, 67% of the population used only cash for everyday purchases, but in the past five years this figure has constantly been around 10%. People in Estonia now prefer more than ever to pay by bankcard and those who used both payment cards and cash to pay for purchases two years ago now use card payments more. Statistics from Eesti Pank show that residents of Estonia make some 700,000 card payments each day, which is three times as many as ten years ago. The most active users of cards are the young and those with higher incomes, but the use of bankcards by the retired has increased noticeably since 2013.

Payments are being made more and more through bank channels. Internet bank payments are popular for regular payments such as bills for electricity, utilities or telephones, using standing orders with or without e-invoices. Survey data from 2001 showed 82% of Estonian residents making regular payments in the offices of the service providers, and only 17% using internet banks. This has changed sharply over the years, and in 2015, 98% of Estonian residents always or mostly made their payments through the internet bank. Fewer than one fifth of residents use channels outside the bank, such as the office of the service provider or post offices.

One quarter of residents have bought goods from a foreign seller over the internet in the past year. The online buying habits of Estonia residents have not changed particularly since the previous survey in 2013, and 44% of families with children make purchases over the internet.

The TNS Emor survey data reveal that one fifth of residents do not know how quickly payments move from one bank to another, but more than half think that it happens within one or two hours. Until early 2014 payments moved between banks every hour and ten times a day but when Estonia joined the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) in February 2014 and payments started to go through the pan-European STEP2 retail system, payments started to be made less frequently. The survey shows though that the popular understanding of how fast payments are made between banks has not really changed.


The survey by TMS Emor was conducted in September this year and covered 954 households, with respondents aged between 18 and 74. The survey was commissioned by Eesti Pank.

TNS Emor has been conducting the F-monitoring survey since 1998. The survey observes changes in how Estonian residents use money and in the options and desires behind their financial behaviour. This time the survey focused on the payment habits of Estonian families.

Additional information:
Ingrid Mitt
Public Relations Office
Tel: +372 668 0965, +372 512 6843
Email: ingrid.mitt [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries: press [at] eestipank.ee