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The Use of Payment Instruments in Austria


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  • Peter Mooslechner

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)

  • Helmut Stix

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Economic Studies Division)

  • Karin Wagner

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Economic Analysis Division)


This study analyzes the results of the OeNB’s methods-of-payment survey of fall 2011 and compares them with the results of similar surveys from the years 1996, 2000 and 2005. The rapid development of cashless payment options in the 15 years that have passed between the first and last analyzed survey and the more widespread availability of payment cards raise the question how consumer behavior has changed. With a value share of some 65% of total payments, cash still remains the most important payment instrument. Debit cards have also risen in importance (to some 25%). While the share of debit card payments doubled between 2000 and 2005, their recent increase was far less significant. The value share of credit cards remains low at 5%. Even though the use of payment instruments varies with education, income and age, in terms of value more than 50% of all payments are still made in cash in each of these sociodemographic subgroups. By contrast, gender and the size of a resident’s home town do not have much impact on the use of cash. The use of payment instruments is determined by two further factors: the size of the payment and the type of the purchase. It is shown that card payments increased markedly in the period from 1996 to 2011 primarily for amounts exceeding EUR 20. Still, cash continues to be used intensively for larger-value payments as well, and it still accounts for a large share of payments in both the food and services sectors, as well as in restaurants and hotels. By international comparison, Austrian payments are shown to be very cash-intensive. The available data suggest that this situation is not solely the result of a low POS terminal density. Rather, this tendency may also be attributable to the fact that Austrian consumers have a positive view of cash. Moreover, a relatively high ATM density and the possibility to withdraw cash free of charge may positively influence the use of cash. On the supply side, the survey results indicate that card acceptance is low for small-value payments.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) in its journal Monetary Policy & the Economy.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 53–77

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Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbmp:y:2012:i:4:b:3

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Keywords: usage of payment means; payment behavior; retail payments; demand for money; survey data;

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  1. Nicole Jonker & Anneke Kosse & Lola Hern�ndez, 2012. "Cash usage in the Netherlands: How much, where, when, who and whenever one wants?," DNB Occasional Studies, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department 1002, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
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Cited by:
  1. Arango, Carlos & Bouhdaoui, Yassine & Bounie, David & Eschelbach, Martina & Hernández, Lola, 2014. "Cash management and payment choices: A simulation model with international comparisons," Discussion Papers, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre 04/2014, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  2. Pirmin Fessler & Friedrich Fritzer, 2013. "The Distribution of Inflation among Austrian Households," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 12–28.
  3. Christina Burger & Katharina Wolner-Rößlhuber, 2013. "Internet Payment Behavior in Austria," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 29–41.


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