“As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, German consumers showed an abrupt
shift in payment behaviours, increasingly using card payments over physical cash for hygiene reasons,” said Ratna Sita, head of DACH research at Euromonitor International.
In a country where cash is king, Germans have stubbornly kept up a tradition of using cash, even as consumers in other countries switched to the ease and speed of cashless payments in recent years.
But with the spread of Covid-19 came the desire to avoid touching notes and coins.
The German government further sped up the shift by doubling the transaction limit on contactless payments to €50.
Card payments will “exceed cash payments in Germany for the first time in history” in 2020, the Euromonitor study said.
The study also found that younger citizens especially are more trusting of technological advances like paying by smartphone, and less worried about privacy than previous generations.
The study expects the value of card payment transactions in Germany to surge by 28 percent from 2019 to 2025, while cash transactions are projected to drop by 34 percent over the period.
It is still common to find small retailers that don't take cards in Germany, though it is becoming rarer.
Credit cards are still not widely used, with debit cards making up three-quarters of all card payments in 2019, according to Germany's central bank.
Cashless transactions rose 48 percent in May 2020 compared with the same month the previous year, according to the National Association of German Cooperative Banks.