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Icelanders Prefer Credit Cards to Cash

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Icelanders Prefer Credit Cards to Cash

Icelandic money

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Icelanders use credit cards more frequently than other European nations to pay for goods and services. Nearly half of all such purchases in Iceland are paid for with credit cards, RÚV reports. Among all the 20 European countries to which we compare ourselves, only Luxembourg uses credit cards for more than 20 percent of purchases of goods and services.

The information was published by the Central Bank of Iceland yesterday. The bank compares the credit and debit card use of Icelanders to that of 20 other European nations.

Few among those nations use cash as sparingly as Icelanders, but despite ranking first in credit card use, we are ninth in the use of debit cards.

The use of credit cards by Icelanders far exceeds that of the 20 nations we are compared to. While Icelanders use credit cards for 46 percent of the payment for goods and services, Luxembourg, which comes closest in credit card use, is a distant second with about ten percent lower rate. In eastern and southern Europe, credit card use is minimal, and cash is the main method of payment.

In 2014, Icelanders use debit cards for 34 percent of payments for goods and services. In Norway, that rate was 68 percent, in Denmark 64 percent and in Sweden 55 percent.

That same year, Icelanders used cash for the purchase of 20 percent of goods and services.

You can read the Central Bank’s report here.

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