Three in four European merchants prefer digital payments over cash, and 72% prefer to accept cards over other payment methods, according to new research from Payments Europe.

“Safety, Convenience and Choice: The True Value of Cards” is based on a survey of 1,560 merchants working in physical and online retail, in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Poland. The report underscores how rapidly the payments market is evolving in Europe, with ever-escalating competition among providers, and new products and services becoming available.

Safety and security are the main priorities for merchants when choosing between payment methods, followed by customer preference, reach, merchant convenience, and cost.

When asked to compare different payment options, merchants rank cards the highest because they meet those needs best. The report also reveals that 67% of merchants believe the cost of cards has dropped or stayed stable in the last years while 87% of merchants believe the value of cards outweighs the cost.

Kerri McLaughlin, Member of Payments Europe, from Citi said: “Our research shows that merchants welcome diversification; the industry is fostering innovation and security; and cardholders benefit from greater choice. Cards have traditionally played an important role and continue to be the preferred payment solution, delivering innovation and resilience for both cardholders and merchants.”

Source: Payments Europe

Sascha Dewald, from Deutsche Kreditbank AG and Member of the Board of Payments Europe added: “Businesses must embed this ever-growing demand for digital solutions into their transformation efforts. It’s one of the key differentiating traits of those better equipped to drive successful outcomes, and it is especially true for small merchants.”

The vast majority of all businesses in the EU are SMEs looking to drive revenue and contribute to the growth of the wider economy. To help achieve this, developing a thorough payments acceptance strategy has become increasingly important in recent years.

According to Michael Hoffman from Card Payment Sweden and Member of the Board of Payments Europe, “This is an exceptionally exciting time for payments, and we must continue to fuel innovation while maintaining the highest security.

“Digital and card payments will only continue gaining traction. Card tokenization and other robust security features will take hold. There are so many exciting trends to look out for, and everyone has a part to play to further the digital payments space, from policymakers to civil society. Industry will continue to implement initiatives for the benefit of European consumers, merchants and the economy.”


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