Consumers worldwide are gradually returning to in-store purchases but continue to prefer digital payment options when paying offline.

That is according to a new ResearchAndMarkets report which says that as of April 2022, 52% of consumers chose to pay less with cash, and 36% opted for contactless payment methods.

The ‘Europe POS Payment Methods 2023’ report reveals that to meet this changing demand, sellers and merchants are shifting away from traditional POS systems and embracing advanced technologies like smart POS, soft POS, and mPOS. Among these options, debit cards have emerged as the preferred POS payment method, with more than half of merchants considering them essential due to their security benefits and convenience.

Significant growth in contactless credit and debit card use

In Europe, although cash remains dominant, there has been significant growth in the usage of contactless credit and debit cards. In 2022, over 60% of card payment transactions at POS were contactless. Leading the way in this trend are countries like Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxebourg, where the share of card payments at POS is notably high.

The report finds that while cash is still preferred by 59% of surveyed respondents for in-store transactions in Europe as of June 2022, alternative POS payment methods like QR code payments, digital wallets, and payments via loyalty programmes are gaining traction. An example of this is Klarna’s new loyalty card feature which allows users to store their loyalty cards digitally in their app, streamlining the payment process.

In the UK, debit cards and cash are the top two most used POS payment methods as of April 2022, with almost half of shoppers preferring to pay with cash.The report predicts that proximity mobile payments in the UK could see significant growth, reaching up to 16 million proximity mobile payment users by 2026.

Notably, Germany has also experienced significant growth in contactless physical card usage at POS, accounting for almost three quarters of all card payment transactions as of 2022. The Giro card dominates the POS payment landscape, representing 42% of all card payments used at POS, followed by credit cards at 6%, the report finds.

Key topics covered

Among key topics, the report examines global decision making and plans to deploy mobile POS technology for in-store shopping in the next four years. In the same period, it analyses the total expected volume of global soft POS and the current progress of contactless payment at POS in Europe.

It also offers insights into P2P mobile payments in France and into the popularity of retailer mobile apps in the UK, specifically to pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay.