Cash or card? Modern payment methods see huge upward trajectory among Czechs
Are Czechs a nation of cash lovers or have they embraced the digital revolution? How widespread are contactless terminals in Czechia? And what do Czechs spend money on when they go abroad? I spoke to Petr Polák, Country Manager for VISA and Katarína Kakalíková, Government Engagement Director for MASTERCARD, to find out.
In comparison with other parts of the world, how much do Czechs like to pay with card?
Petr Polák (Visa): “Definitely compared to Western Europe, the use of payment cards is still lower. But what is more important is the trajectory, and growth is amazing in this part of Europe, along with the popularity of modern methods of payment. For example, Czechs are known to rule Europe in terms of contactless payments. Mobile payments are enormously popular, even in comparison with the rest of Europe. So we are still getting there in terms of the overall use of cards, but those modern methods are accelerating the trend.”
Are there still a lot of places that don’t accept card in the Czech Republic?
Petr Polák (Visa): “We still see an acceptance gap in the market – obviously, when you are going out of Prague or out of big cities in general, you can still find places where cards aren’t accepted. I wouldn’t say that a specific sector is more prone to not taking cards – I don’t think that is the case. In general, the trend is growing, and I think that is accelerated by the popularity of paying with card by the cardholders – that’s the main motivation of Czech merchants to accept cards in greater numbers. And projects like ‘Česko platí kartou’ are fuelling this trend even further, so we are now very close to the overall European average.”
Is there a difference between how much Czechs pay with card at home versus when they travel abroad?
Katarína Kakalíková (Mastercard): “One might say that – for example, 59% of people say that they prefer to pay by card in the Czech Republic, whereas only about 39% of people say that they prefer to pay by card when travelling.
“But I would say that probably the trends would be similar depending on where they travel. If you travel to the UK, the infrastructure is more developed and people are more prone to pay with cards everywhere.
“What’s also an interesting trend that we observe in the Czech Republic is that people are getting more and more used to paying by card even for small transactions, which is also responsible for the considerable growth.”
What do Czechs spend most of their money on when travelling?
Katarína Kakalíková (Mastercard): “Czechs are no exception to any other tourists across the world, because what we have seen, especially since the pandemic, is a strong preference for leisure travel and experiences. So they prefer to spend more money on experiences like going to restaurants or trying to immerse themselves in the local culture, rather than buying things.
“This is a general trend that we have seen since the pandemic, when people were shut at home just purchasing material stuff. Since the opening of the borders, most people prefer to spend time with their families and friends and spend money on experiences.”