Cash is not welcome in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Confused tourists: The public transport in Tallinn, where instead of machines there are only NFC validators in the buses and trains
Image: dpa

While in Germany there is a risk of ruffle if someone pays a small amount with a card, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania the opposite is true. The corona crisis is giving contactless payment in particular a further boost.

UInadvertently, hungry beachgoers in the Latvian coastal town of Vecāķi have a bad conscience. The waitress of the “Vegistop” snack truck digs deep into a small wallet in order to collect the change for the burger, which was paid for with a ten euro note. “It is better for us if you pay by card,” she replies when asked whether everything is OK. Understanding within Europe was quickly restored – with the explanation that in Germany anyone who does not pay a small amount in cash is threatened with criticism.

The episode shows: The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are countries in which cashless payment is well advanced. A survey by the Latvian National Bank proves this. According to their “Payment Radar” from February, the average Latvian makes 64 percent of his transactions cashless. In contrast, according to the retail research institute EHI, the Germans processed 73 percent of their retail payments in cash last year. Only with the corona pandemic is Germany rethinking cash-free payments. Germany is still a long way from the Baltic standard of being able to pay by card in every restaurant and bar.

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