When it comes to electronic transactions, Austrians are only in the bottom third compared to 17 other European countries, with an average of 247 payments in 2022. Nevertheless, the number of cashless payments grew by 7 percent compared to the previous year. “In Austria, cash is still an important means of payment, so there is still a lot of room for improvement for electronic transactions,” says Markus Ampenberger, payment expert at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and co-author of the Global Payments Report 2023. All about that Cash even sparked a political debate in Austria over the summer months as to whether cash should be specifically protected in the constitution or not.
According to the report, most cashless payments – i.e. transactions with credit cards, debit cards or smartphones – took place in Norway last year, with an average of 708 per capita. Behind them were Denmark (610) and Luxembourg (598). Germany, where cash is also still valued, was ahead of Austria in the ranking with 284 digital payments. For example, there were fewer electronic transactions in Italy (186) and Malta (180) than in Austria.
The global payment industry achieved significant revenue growth of 8.3 percent to $1.6 trillion last year. However, BCG experts expect growth to slow significantly in the coming years. “The reason for the break in the long-term upward trend is the expected shift in mass payment transactions from cards to account-to-account transactions,” said Ampenberger. “In addition, card margins are declining noticeably in some markets.”
However, the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) could significantly increase productivity in the industry. The BCG experts see increases of a fifth for product and software development. Some payment providers are already testing generative AI in the areas of fraud prevention, knowledge management and for the introduction of new services.
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