Payments Report 2024

The digitalisation of payments is a global trend

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Digital payment methods increasing internationally

Published: 14 March 2024

In many countries, the use of debit and credit cards has increased during the pandemic. Contactless technology has helped to make card payments both faster and more convenient. In some countries, more merchants have also started accepting cards. In the euro area, the share of in-store card purchases has increased by 9 percentage points in three years and today more than one in three purchases are made by card, as you can see in Figure 9. However, there are significant differences between euro area countries. According to the European Central Bank’s Payment Attitudes Survey 2022, almost seven out of ten people pay by card when shopping in Finland, while just under a fifth do so in Malta.

Figure 9. Cash use declining in the euro area

Share of in-store payments by different payment methods in the euro area, percentages.

Figure: Figure 9. Cash use declining in the euro area.csv

Note: “Other” includes cheques, account transfers and loyalty points.

Download the data from the diagram by clicking on the arrow to the right, above the diagram.

Source: Study on the payment attitudes of consumers in the euro area (SPACE) - 2022 (

Both in Sweden and internationally, mobile payments have become more common, both in the form of services that are essentially a card payment, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and with Swish-like services for instant payments. In the United Kingdom, for example, one in three adults had access to at least one mobile phone payment service in 2021, and the majority had used them. However, in the euro area, paying in stores with a mobile phone is still uncommon.

As digital payment methods increase, the use of cash is decreasing globally. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, half the world’s population is using cash less and less. In the euro area, the share of cash payments has fallen by around 20 percentage points in six years, as you can see in Figure 9. The pandemic has accelerated this trend, especially in countries with a high level of cash use relative to Sweden. Examples include Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom.