girocard hits new highs in Germany as population moves to contactless payments


Germany’s girocard remains on the road to success in a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost 5.5 billion transactions in 2020, it reached a new high at the checkout.

Compared to the previous year, girocard was used around 1 billion times more often than in 2020 (2019: 4.5 billion), corresponding to a growth rate of 21.7%.

As the current statistics of the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft (DK) further show, the turnover was €236 billion an increase of 12.0% (2019: €211 billion). The change to card payments at POS, which has been observed for years, continues in this extraordinary year.

German contactless payments in particular meets customers’ and retailer’s desire for distance and hygiene – the number of active girocard terminals increased by over 30,000 to up to 904,000 in 2020.

Contactless grows rapidly over the course of the year

While only around 40% of transactions were contactless in January 2020, this proportion rose to 60.4% at the end of the year (year-end 2019: 35.7%) and is thus well above the 2020 annual average of 50.1% (2019 annual average: 26. 6%).

Revenue from contactless payment transactions more than doubled over the same period to €97 billion (2019: €41 billion). Contactless payment also includes paying with the digital girocard, for example on a smartphone.

This has become more and more established and will probably be used even more frequently at POS in retail in the future. Since payment is only approved via the smartphone, for example via fingerprint or face recognition the payment process is particularly fast, convenient and hygienic.

girocard more common than ever

Germans are also using girocard not only when paying larger amounts, such as weekend shopping, but also when the amounts decrease.

Overall, the average payment amount fell from €46.86 in 2019 to €43.14 in 2020. At the same time, the average amount of contactless payments with girocard rose to €35.31 (2019: €33.93).

This shows how natural contactles) card payments have become in Germany – regardless of the purchase amount. Contactless payment became even more convenient for customers in spring 2020, in response to popular requests, the DK raised the limit for PIN-free contactless payments from €25 to €50.

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