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The Use of Payment Instruments in Austria - A Study Based on Survey Data from 1996 to 2011

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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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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  1. Kevin Foster & Erik Meijer & Scott Schuh & Michael A. Zabek, 2011. "The 2009 survey of consumer payment choice," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Carlos Arango & Angelika Welte, 2012. "The Bank of Canada’s 2009 Methods-of-Payment Survey: Methodology and Key Results," Discussion Papers 12-6, Bank of Canada.
  3. Ulf Von Kalckreuth & Tobias Schmidt & Helmut Stix, 2014. "Using Cash to Monitor Liquidity: Implications for Payments, Currency Demand, and Withdrawal Behavior," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(8), pages 1753-1786, December.
  4. 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 1002, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  5. Peter Mooslechner & Helmut Stix & Karin Wagner, 2006. "How Are Payments Made in Austria?," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 111–134.
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