The majority (75 per cent) of point of sale payments made in the Eurozone are cash transactions, despite the wide availability of digital payment options including mobile, the European Central Bank (ECB) revealed.

In a statement announcing availability of a new €50 banknote, ECB president Mario Draghi (pictured) said a study commissioned by the organisation showed the central position cash still holds in countries using the Euro.

Draghi said three quarters of all payments at the point of sale – excluding remote transactions made online – were made using cash. In terms of transaction value, cash made up slightly more than half.

“Even in this digital age, cash remains essential in our economy,” Draghi concluded.

The full results of the study are scheduled for release in mid-2017.

Digital lag
The ECB is eager to increase digital retail transactions and is looking at a number of options to stimulate the mobile payment ecosystem.

During January, ECB executive board member Yves Mersch told the French Payments Committee 2017 would be a year of “decisive action for innovation in retail payments” citing developments in mobile as being among the most important aspects.

The adoption of digital payments using mobile has been especially slow in Europe. In its latest market analysis, Juniper Research concluded Europe lagged behind every other region in terms of mobile payment transaction value.

These sentiments were echoed by comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook in March when he pointed to the slow uptake of mobile payment services in Europe and the US compared to China.