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Contactless and Corona Accelerate Card-based Payment

EHI-Survey on Payment-Systems in Germany


Compared to China ,Germans still cling to their coins and bills and are reluctant to use cashless payment systems. But lately they pull out cards more and more often at the checkout in stationary retail and thus help card-based systems to become the most popular way to pay in Germany. Enhanced by corona especially contactless payment gains more relevance. "In 2018 the turnover with card-based payment had overtaken cash-payment for the first time. This leading role has grown by 4 percent points within the last year" , explains Horst Rueter, expert for payment systems at EHI, the results of the survey among leading retailer in Germany.


Contactless Payment as Standard
224,6 billion euro were transacted with cards in 2019 in Germany, which is 15,5 billion more than the year before. More than every second euro was paid with cards. With 50,5 percent of the total retail-turnover (445 billion euro) card-based payment has become more favored than cash. The biggest part among cashless payments was allotted to the Girocard-system, caused by the high acceptance of contactless payment by customer as well as retailer. 


Already in December of last year contactless payment had gained popularity, 35,7 percent of all Giro-card-transaction had been taken contactlessly. With Covid-19 this has climbed up to 45 percent. For the future it is estimated that cashless-payment-share will rise more rapidly than expected previously: due to the changes of customer behaviour caused by Covid-19 its share will be at 58,1 percent in 2022.


German grocery- and drug-stores generated an additional turnover with cards of 2,6 billion euro at the peak of the pandemic-related crisis in retail in march 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019. Caused by closings the turnover of non-food retail has dropped by 75 percent, respectively 8,2 billion euro.


The EHI-Panel contains 403 companies with around 85.000 outlets covering 35 branches of retail with a gros turnover in 2019 of 281,5 billion euro, which represents around 60,3 percent  of total retail turnover (445 billion euro, not included automobile, gasoline, pharmacies, e-commerce and postal shopping).

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