How do Belgians view cash?

Over the past few years, more and more of us have been paying for things electronically, although cash still has a role to play in our society. We need to understand how Belgians prefer to pay today and also how they do it in practice. Our paying preferences and habits sometimes differ – a fact that is illustrated in the interesting new study from iVOX (December 2021).


Okay, here’s a slightly delicate question for you: do you still carry cash in your wallet? And if you find yourself paying less often with cash than you used to, you are not alone. Because a little over 3 in 5 Belgians who pay with cash say that they are doing so less today than they did three years ago. This fact was highlighted by a new online study from the iVOX research bureau conducted among 1000 Belgians in December 2021.

More by card, but also by cash

Our payment habits have clearly changed in recent years in Belgium. Between 2012 and 2019, figures from Febelfin tell us that we paid for things 91% more by card; whereas between 2012 and 2021, we withdrew 49% less cash from ATMs. This means the gap between cash and card has been growing – a trend that accelerated in 2020 as a result of the huge success enjoyed by contactless payments. But at the same time, 19% of Belgians still opted for cash, as can be seen from the iVOX survey in December 2021.

So, in what situations are we still paying with cash? If we use cash in our everyday lives, we do so at the market (70%), in a bar (55%) and at the doctor (48%).

Payment habits: four different profiles of Belgians

Why do Belgians continue to pay with cash? Is it only in situations where we have no other choice? Or do some of us actually still prefer cash? And how will our paying habits change in the years ahead? Are we on the road to a cashless society? Or will cash stay with us in a less cash society?

To answer these questions, we need to understand how Belgians think about the various methods of payment. The iVOX survey tells us that not all Belgians choose the same ways to pay for things. In fact, Belgians can be divided into four profiles when it comes to their favourite and most frequently used method of payment:

·       « Cash Lovers », who still pay in cash on a weekly basis and prefer to do so.

·       « Flexible Cash Users », who still pay in cash on a weekly basis, but would prefer to pay with a card.

·       « Card Lovers », who pay each week with a card and deliberately opt for this method of payment.

·       « Innovative Payers », who pay digitally each week (card and mobile), because those are their favourite methods of payment.

Who are these Belgians – and why do they behave the way they do?

We will be examining these four profiles in more depth in the coming weeks. Who are they exactly? What are their payment habits? What is their favourite method of payment and what do they think about other ways of paying? How big is their group compared with the others? Find out everything you need to know in our upcoming news items.


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