EHI GERMANY: Mobile payment growing strongly

May 31, 2023

EHI study “Payment Systems in Retail 2023

Cologne, 10.05.2023 Germans changed their payment behaviour significantly in the Corona years and have largely stuck with it after the pandemic. They still prefer to pay by card – the Girocard takes first place in the ranking of payment methods – and the cash share continues to decline. “After the exceptional pandemic years, the share shifts from cash to card are normalising. There are no signs of a trend reversal back to more cash,” explains Horst Rüter, member of the management board and payment expert at EHI. The results of this year’s study “Payment Systems in Retail 2023” also show that cash payments to customers, the so-called cash back, cost retailers millions and that mobile payments are increasing significantly. Horst Rüter will present the other results of the study to the nearly 600 participants at the EHI Payment Congress in Bonn today.

Shares of the payment methods

In 2022, the retail sector will have turned over around 465 billion euros, which – due to inflation and with shops open all day again – is an increase of 35 billion euros compared to the crisis year of 2021. In terms of payment methods, card payments will continue to grow. It increased its share by 0.9 percentage points to almost 60 per cent or 277.9 billion euros. Cash, on the other hand, loses one percentage point and still accounts for 37.5 percent. In absolute terms, however, cash turnover increases by 8.6 billion euros to 174.3 billion euros. The rest of the payment pie, 2.8 percent, is accounted for by bill and finance purchases as well as vouchers and gift cards.

Within the plastic currency, the girocard, adjusted for cash-back sales, is clearly in the lead with 41.9 percent and 194.7 billion euros, once again pushing cash payment into second place among the most popular payment methods. The new international debit brands – Visa Debit and Debit Mastercard – which are mainly issued by direct banks, are able to make significant gains, albeit still at a small level. With a share of 2.9 per cent in 2022, these debit cards from international providers have made a significant leap from 0.9 per cent in 2021. It must be taken into account that these new cards, quite in contrast to the Girocard, are only accepted where the use of Visa or Mastercard credit cards is also possible, which excludes about 150,000 to 200,000 cash registers, especially in medium-sized retail.


Germans go shopping in a stationary shop 215 times a year, in terms of households that is 430 stationary purchases. This adds up to 17.9 billion transactions and corresponds to an increase of 7.8 percent compared to 2020/2021. In the difficult Corona years, transactions had declined from 20 to 16.6 billion. So in 2022 there are 1.3 billion more transactions, but it is still 2.1 billion less than before.

Mobile on the rise

The share of mobile payment transactions via smartphone or smartwatch increased significantly last year. In the meantime, 5.4 percent of all card-based payment transactions are carried out with a card digitally stored in the smartphone, in most cases via Apple Pay, Google Pay or the apps of the savings banks and cooperative banks. A year earlier, the figure was just under 3 percent. However, contactless payment with the presence of the card still has a large lead. 71.1 percent of all card payment transactions are carried out conveniently and – for amounts below 50 euros – quickly without entering a PIN. At 23.5 percent, only less than a quarter of all payment transactions with plastic money are now made by inserting the card into the terminal.

Cash back costs

Retailers are paying out more and more cash to their customers, and that costs money. The average fee that banks charge retailers for this service is 0.134 percent of the amount paid out – a service that relieves the banks and compensates for the massive reduction in ATMs. Almost 90 percent of the grocery and drug stores on the EHI panel offer cash withdrawals, almost all of them via the Girocard functionality. In the meantime, 12.3 percent of the cash “collected” at retail cash registers is returned to the customers. That is a volume of 10.32 billion euros. A service for which retailers now have to pay 13.7 million euros in fees to the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft.

The study “Payment Systems in Retail 2023” will be published at the end of June; free of charge for EHI members.

Data basis:

The EHI survey panel “Payment Systems” comprises 409 companies with approx. 100,000 businesses from 35 sectors with a gross turnover of 294 billion euros (approx. 55.4 percent of the stationary retail turnover in the narrow sense of 465 billion euros in 2022).

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