The Netherlands is among the countries with relatively high awareness of the digital euro, but a low level of trust in their personal banks for digital euro transaction data.

BearingPoint Survey Key findings:

  • Cash is the most frequently used payment method in Europe.
  • On average, one in four respondents see the digital euro as a supplement to cash, with almost one in five saying they would use it several times a week.
  • The Netherlands is among the countries with relatively high awareness of the digital euro. Only 32% of respondents in the Netherlands had not heard of it.
  • Fast, secure and accepted everywhere – these are the characteristics that respondents expect from the digital euro.

Amsterdam, December 5, 2023 – The digital euro has entered a two-year preparation phase which will lay the foundations for potentially issuing the digital euro across Europe.  According to a new survey conducted by management and technology consultancy BearingPoint in seven countries across Europe, 32% of respondents in The Netherlands have not heard of the digital euro, a planned digital version of physical euro bank notes and coins.

According to official communications of the European Central Bank, the digital euro is not intended to replace cash but to complement it, which is also reflected in the survey results. On average, around 26% of respondents expect the digital euro to be used as a supplement to existing payment methods. Information on the digital euro is most pronounced in Austria, with only 27% of respondents having not heard of it.

So, whilst knowledge of the digital euro is relatively widespread in the Netherlands further communication and education is required to ensure acceptance of the digital euro. Only 15% of the respondents indicated the digital euro will complement the payment methods available today and will be used more frequently than cash. In the countries with the highest cash use, Austria and Germany, the expectation is that the digital euro will be used less frequently than cash. In Finland, the country with the lowest cash use, the digital euro is expected to be used more frequently than cash.

Expectations of the critical characteristics of the digital euro are consistent across countries, these being: fast, secure, and accepted everywhere, closely followed by availability at all times.  Anonymity as a characteristic was by far the least important.

Respondents said their preferred use of the digital euro would be for online shopping, with one in three in The Netherlands saying they would use it there. In all countries surveyed, the digital euro would also be used frequently in daily shopping, such as at the supermarket. The criteria of free to use and accepted everywhere 24/7 (online and offline) would encourage respondents to use the digital euro the most. Trust in data security is seen as a more important criterion for usage than a great user experience.

Christian Bruck

Cash is by far the most popular payment method in Europe. It is so high partly due to the fact that in uncertain times, cash is perceived as particularly familiar and secure. Cash remains highly valued, reflected in the strong majority favouring cash in the next five to ten years. It is interesting to note that, despite the differences in today’s use of cash, an average of one in five people would use the digital euro several times a week. This underlines the potential of the digital euro. It seems important to the respondents that the digital euro would be accepted everywhere, around the clock, and offered free of charge.

Christian Bruck, Partner and Payments Expert at BearingPoint

Results of the survey show that the personal bank in Europe receives the highest trust for digital euro transaction data with exception of The Netherlands. Only 7% would entrust the data to their personal bank, slightly higher than the 4% of the respondents would entrust it to technology companies such as Apple, Google, or Amazon. The entrustment of data to the central bank is most pronounced in the Netherlands (27%) and even ahead of Switzerland (21%).

In Germany (71%) and Austria (79%), cash use is significantly higher than in other European countries. Respondents from Switzerland (63%), Ireland (61%), the Netherlands (57%), and France (55%) also show a relatively high level of cash use but are well behind Germany and Austria. Finland has a significantly lower cash usage pattern at 43%.

The popularity of cash is also reflected in the frequency of use. Multiple use of cash over the course of a week is highest in Austria (73%) and Germany (66%), with Ireland at 50%, while only 19% of respondents in Finland use cash several times a week. Despite the significant differences in the use of cash, the expectation of using the digital euro is similar in all countries.  Around 20% of respondents in the study (between 15% and 21% of respondents across all countries) would use the digital euro several times a week.

Joost Loves, Partner at BearingPoint

The Netherlands has a moderate level of cash use, with 57% of respondents using cash as their main payment method. Although knowledge of the digital euro is now relatively widespread across Europe, with 32% of respondents in the Netherlands not having heard of it, further communication and education is required to ensure acceptance of the digital euro as a supplement to cash.

Joost Loves, Partner at BearingPoint

About the survey
The data is based on an online survey of 8,114 people in Germany (2,040), Finland (1,004), France (1,056), Ireland (1,002), the Netherlands (1,006), Austria (1,005) and Switzerland (1,001) conducted between September 11-22, 2023. The results were weighted and are representative of the respective populations aged 18 and over. The survey was designed by BearingPoint and conducted by the market research institute YouGov in the seven countries mentioned. The results were analyzed by the BearingPoint payments experts. BearingPoint has conducted surveys regularly in the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region since 2019 and expanded the panel to other European countries this year. For more information on The Digital Euro and The Netherlands, please see BearingPoint’s latest insight.

About BearingPoint
BearingPoint is an independent management and technology consultancy with European roots and a global reach. The company operates in three business units: The first unit covers the advisory business with a clear focus on selected business areas. The second unit provides IP-driven digital assets and managed services beyond SaaS. The third unit is designed to explore innovative business models with clients and partners by driving the financing and development of start-ups and leveraging ecosystems.

BearingPoint’s clients include many of the world’s leading companies and organisations. The firm has a global consulting network with over 10,000 people and supports clients in over seventy countries, engaging with them to achieve measurable and sustainable success.

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