Statistically speaking: Germans prefer to leave their credit cards in the car

You hear it again and again: When it comes to paying by credit card, we Germans seem to behave like the last hicks. Is that really so? Do people in other countries really pay so much more with plastic money? The KlarMacher investigate!

Anyone who has ever been on vacation in the USA knows this: Americans pay for a single pack of chewing gum with their credit card. While in this country, one gets some strange looks at the supermarket cash desk when one has to pay the 9,34 euros for the shopping after work with a card due to the lack of cash in the wallet.

In fact, the credit card is the most popular means of payment in the USA. By 2015, Americans will have paid the equivalent of around 2.5 trillion euros – in figures 2,500,000,000,000 – by credit card. In Germany, the figure went into the billions that year, 85,000,000,000 euros to be exact – but compared to the USA, there are still a few zeros missing. On average, every American has paid seven times as much by credit card as a German citizen.

Germans can also pay without cash – with the Girocard

But in order to save the Germans’ honour, it must be said that we are gradually making friends with cashless payment. In 2018, for the first time ever, German retailers paid more with cards than with cash. However, that was mainly with the good old EC card, which has been officially called Girocard since 2007. Only just under seven percent of sales were paid for with credit cards, but over 40 percent with Girocard.

So we Germans are not quite as backwoods as some people like to portray us as being. And it is not always made easy for us to pay by card. Credit cards are by no means accepted everywhere. And even with the Girocard you can’t always get further or use it only after a certain minimum turnover. Other countries are much further along. And for that we don’t even have to look across the pond, but only a few hundred kilometres to the north. The Scandinavian countries are regarded as pioneers in cashless payment. Around half of the Swedes now only pay via app, and the situation is similar in the other Nordic countries.

Everyday life with a credit card – this is how it works elsewhere

Accordingly, credit card payments are already commonplace in Scandinavia and can actually be made anywhere. Would you like a few examples?

  • The Stockholm street magazine “Situation Stockholm” has been able to pay by credit card since 2013.
  • The doors of public toilets in Norway are now only open in some cases with a credit card.
  • Bell pouches are out, in Swedish churches the card for offerings is pulled out at the “Kollektomat”.
  • Made a sensational find at the flea market, but not enough cash in your pocket? In this country it’s usually a catastrophe of the highest order. In Scandinavia… You know what I mean.
  • Without plastic money to the restaurant or gas station? In Denmark a bad idea, because petrol stations, restaurants and small shops don’t have to accept cash.