Retailers should be aware of the fact that customers have gotten used to quick, uncomplicated checkout procedures in online retail. They have come to expect this kind of service in offline retail as well, and most importantly the ability to choose a favoured payment type.
The willingness to pay using a debit or credit card is on an upward trend in Germany. Although cash still remains a common means of payment, convenience is increasingly more popular. For retailers, card payments have countless advantages, because aside from the speed of the process, data verification is now electronic and fully automated. Another advantage of the high acceptance of card payments: International customers can make cashless purchases regardless of their national currency.
The numbers published by the German Retail Association (HDE) in the "Zahlenspiegel 2018" clearly show the trend away from cash payments and towards more debit and credit card purchases. In the years between 2005 and 2017, cash payments dropped by 13.6%, while cashless payments over the same period showed an increase of 14.6%.
The relevance of cash will further decline in the future. Debit and credit cards are becoming increasingly popular. In 2017, 27.2% of cashless payments were made with EC and/or debit cards. In 2005 the number was still at 11.5%. Credit cards have not experienced the same increase, but their popularity is definitely on the rise. In 2017, credit cards accounted for 6.5% of all sales.
The inception of mobile payment solutions like Google Pay and Apple Pay increasingly drives the digitalisation of the PoS. Retailers and service providers like restaurateurs are therefore well-advised to offer their customers a cashless payment option. Trade associations like Bitkom are lobbying for a statutorily guaranteed freedom of choice for customers at the checkout. "We want that people will have at least one popular electronic payment option wherever they go. In a shop, at a restaurant or bar and even at a ticket vending machine – in short: at every conceivable point of sale", says Julian Grigo, Regional Manager Digital Banking & Financial Services Bitkom e.V.
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