Cash is Alive and Well and Living in U.K., Western Europe

Cash is alive and well and being well used in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, according to a recent report on the state of cash usage.  The report, based on the Global Cash Index™ released by, concludes that cash is highly likely to be around for several more decades – if not centuries – in the region.

 Western Europe

The index reveals for example, that the compounded annual rate of growth in cash use in the region is expected to reach 0.7 percent between 2015 and 2020, while cash’s share of the Western European Gross Domestic Product is expected to decline only 1.8 percent in the same time period.

As for share of transactions, almost 50 percent of transactions are in cash in the U.K., regardless of a significant shift toward alternative payment forms that was first seen in 2014. 

 “People have been predicting the end of cash pretty much since I was born,” the report quoted the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier Victoria Cleland as saying.  “Every 10 years or so they forecast it and they are wrong.” 

Overall, cash’s average estimated share of transactions is currently 15.04 percent, with the top three highest shares being in Spain, Germany, and Portugal, respectively.  In addition, total cash growth between 2015 and 2020 is expected to increase in 10 of the 15 countries, indicated in bold below:      

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland 
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • U.K.    

Another sign of cash’s long-term viability is a high demand for ATMs, which shows consumers need convenient access to cash.  During a webinar discussion with about the Cash Index, Jonathan Simpson-Dent, Chief Commercial Officer of Cardtronics, commented on “a correlation between economic uncertainty and a flight to cash, particularly among consumers in Southern Europe,” an accompanying article said.  “Cash use is expected to grow over the next five years aided by easy access to ATMs strategically placed to suit lifestyle patterns.

The Global Cash Index™, a Cardtronics collaboration, focuses on the use of cash for making payments and as a payment method that equally plays a role with cards, checks, direct debit, and other methods of settling up between consumers and businesses. Unlike most reported estimates of cash, the Index’s proprietary data analysis focuses on the use of cash for making payments rather than hoarding.

Get additional details on cash’s use in Western Europe and the U.K. by clicking here

Tom Pierce
Chief Marketing Officer

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