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Non-cash payments in EU up by 4.6% last year says ECB

The European Central Bank (ECB) has published the 2011 statistics on non-cash payments in the EU last year, covering card payments, credit transfers, direct debits and the like, which have risen by 4.6% to 90.6 billion transactions in 2011 compared with the previous year.

The statistics provide an indication on access to and use of payment instruments and terminals by the public across the EU, as well as providing data about the volumes and values of transactions processed through the continent’s payment systems. The statistics are published for each EU Member State, in addition to EU and euro area aggregates and comparative data.

Card payments accounted for 41% of all non-cash transactions in the EU, while credit transfers accounted for 27% and direct debits for 24%. Whether these numbers will be affected, as they should be, by the imminent arrival of the single euro payments area (SEPA) end dates starting in February 2014 will be interesting to see.

The number of credit transfers within the EU increased in 2011 by 4.4% to 24.9 billion. The importance of paper-based transactions continued to decrease, with the ratio of paper-based transactions to non-paper-based transactions standing at around one to five.

The number of cards with a payment function in the EU remained stable at 727 million (identical to the figure in 2010). This represented around 1.44 payment cards per EU inhabitant. The number of card transactions rose by 8.7% to 37.2 billion, with a total value of €1.9 trillion. This corresponds to an average value of around €52 per card transaction.

In 2011, the total number of automatic teller machines (ATMs) in the EU increased by 0.9% to 0.44 million, while the number of points of sale (POS) terminals increased by 3.2% to 8.8 million.