Five myths about cash you can no longer believe in 2021

We’ve been using cash less and less to pay for things in recent years. Yet the idea of good old folding money still appeals to many people’s imagination. Find out about five myths that continue to stick stubbornly to our banknotes.

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Myth 1: There are still plenty of cash-lovers in Belgium

Not true. Only 13% of Belgians still say that cash is their favourite way of making payments. The vast majority of us (87%) are now opting resolutely to pay digitally. This fact emerges from the annual Digital Payment Barometer published by the federation of banks, Febelfin, and VUB, who surveyed over a thousand Belgians about their paying habits in March 2020 and again in March 2021.

Myth 2: It’s older people who are most attached to cash

Contrary to what you might think, it’s mainly the elderly who are giving up cash. In fact, the 65-74 age group is the category that likes cash the least (9%). This may be linked to reasons of hygiene, because the most vulnerable active group of people has started to avoid cash since the coronavirus crisis.

Myth 3: We’re only moving away from cash very slowly

In fact, the switch to digital payments is going pretty quickly. Compared with 2012, the number of withdrawals from ATMs has more or less halved in Belgium. And Covid-19 has triggered a genuine big bang on the cash front, with the number of payments made in cash falling by almost 40% in the space of just one year. In its place, many of us are opting to make contactless payments by card: 7 out of 10 Belgians have already done so at least once, including people in the older age groups. That’s a huge rise of 50% since the beginning of the pandemic.

Myth 4: We still like to have plenty of cash in our pocket

There is also a noticeable trend towards having less cash in our wallets: half of Belgians (48%) have 0 to a maximum of 20 euro in cash in their pocket. According to economists, the way is now open for less cash in Belgium: not cashless, but less cash. Under the umbrella name of ‘Cash 2025’, local authorities, associations and other stakeholders can think together about the future of cash in our country. Read more about it in this blog article.  

Myth 5: We’re using less cash because there are fewer ATMs around

There is certainly no lack of ATMs in Belgium. In fact, in 2020, Belgians still had around 6400 bank ATMs to choose from. On average, everyone in Belgium had nearly six ATMs within a radius of five kilometres from where they live. In the Netherlands, it’s just three. And compared with the rest of Europe, the cash infrastructure in Belgium is too cumbersome. Certainly now that contactless payments have broken through.

 

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