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Use of cash in France: the payment method of choice for low-value purchases


  • Emmanuelle Politronacci
  • Adeline Moret
  • David Bounie
  • Abel François


This article exploits French data from a survey of cash usage in the euro area, which was published in 2017 on behalf of the European Central Bank (ECB). Cash is the preferred method of payment at the point of sale in the euro area, accounting for three out of every four transactions and more than half of the total value of purchases. The survey results nonetheless vary across countries, with France in particular showing a high concentration of cash usage for small purchases, coupled with a strong predilection for cashless means of payment. Among the determinants of cash usage, sociodemographic criteria (gender, age, income and profession of consumers) are found to have very little impact. However, transaction characteristics play a predominant role, with the share of cash payments diminishing as the value of the purchase rises, and increasing for purchases in shops for day-to-day items.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuelle Politronacci & Adeline Moret & David Bounie & Abel François, 2018. "Use of cash in France: the payment method of choice for low-value purchases," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 220, pages 1-9, November-.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:quarte:2018:220:02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Bagnall & David Bounie & Kim P. Huynh & Anneke Kosse & Tobias Schmidt & Scott Schuh, 2016. "Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(4), pages 1-61, December.
    2. Hayashi Fumiko & Klee Elizabeth, 2003. "Technology Adoption and Consumer Payments: Evidence from Survey Data," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-16, June.
    3. Esselink, Henk & Gijsel, Lola Hernandez-van, 2017. "The use of cash by households in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 201, European Central Bank.
    4. David Bounie & Marc Bourreau & Abel François & Marianne Verdier, 2008. "La détention et l’usage des instruments de paiement en France," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 91(1), pages 53-76.
    5. Joanna Stavins, 2016. "The effect of demographics on payment behavior: panel data with sample selection," Working Papers 16-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 07 Jun 2016.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money


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