According to statistics published by Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank), on average, Estonians withdraw cash from an ATM (Automatic telling machine) 1.3 times a month. Estonians also pay by card at a physical point of sale of 22 times per month and 3.1 times a month at an e-store on average.
Average Estonian pays by card 22 times a month in stores
First quarter (Q1) statistics published by Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) show, that around two million bank cards have been issued by Estonian banks, and are mainly used by Estonian residents to make purchases. A considerable amount of cash is also regularly withdrawn regularly from ATMs and used at points of sale.
In the first quarter of 2023, the average Estonian spent €416 a month using a bank card at a combination of both Estonian and overseas points of sale, plus €95 at e-stores.
Cash withdrawals per person averaged €184 per month, and the average monthly amount of cash deposited at ATMs was €88.
Compared to the same period last year, cash withdrawals were €13 less per person per month, while payments at points of sale were €67 higher.
For every €13 spent at physical outlets both in Estonia and abroad, €9 went to Estonian companies. For bank card payments, from an average monthly spend of €416 in Q1, nearly €376 went to Estonian stores and other outlets and €40 was spent abroad each month.
In the first quarter, Estonian bank cards were used to make payments in 195 different countries around the world. The most common were Finland, Spain, Latvia, Italy and Sweden.
A growing number of Estonian bank cardholders do not use plastic cards to make payments. In the first quarter, 16.5 percent of card payments in Estonia were already made using a digital or e-wallet, that is, via a banking app on a mobile phone, smart watch or smart ring.
The share of digital wallet payments is also increasing due to some banks now issuing virtual cards. A virtual card holder may not have a plastic card at all.
There are also a growing number of cardholders, who have activated contactless payment on their cards. Virtually all bank cards issued in Estonia, as well as all terminals accepting card payments, offer the possibility of paying by direct debit. According to data from the end of March, 82 percent of Estonian bank cardholders had activated contactless payments.
In the first quarter of 2023, 66 percent of all Estonians' bank card payments were made while in Estonia.
Most of the money spent via card payments was in shops, which sell food and other essentials. A large proportion was also spent on eating out, fuel, electronics, household goods, clothing, medicines and entertainment.
In the first quarter, the average Estonian spent €511 each month with a bank card at physical outlets and e-shops, either in Estonia or abroad. Most of this amount (€201) was spent on food and other groceries. An average of €57 per person per month was spent on manufactured goods, including electronics, household goods, sports equipment, furniture, books, flowers, jewelry and watches.
In eateries, restaurants and other places to spend the evening such as nightclubs and bars, Estonians spent an average of €45 per person per month in Q1. One fifth of the food purchased in restaurants was ordered through apps either home or at work. Interest in eating out appears to have increased when compared to last year.
On average, Estonians spent €36 a month on fuel and other purchases at gas stations. Estonians also spent an average of €28 a month on medicines and personal care. Half of this amount was spent at pharmacies, though a significant proportion went to dentists and opticians.
When compared to the same period in 2022, spending has increased in all sectors with the exception of stores selling building materials and tools.
Editor: Michael Cole