Card, Cash, or Mobile? How to Pay at the Supermarket the Fastest Way

Alana Grace

Couple Buying Groceries at a Supermarket
Photo by Jack Sparrow on Pexels

7.35 euros, please: When the cashier asks for the money, you are faced with a choice. Cash, card, or the modern way with your mobile? The quickest payment method has now been determined by the Deutsche Bundesbank (German Central Bank). The results are surprising.

When the queue at the supermarket checkout is endlessly long, the reason is often found at the front: customers searching in the depths of their wallets for the right coins slow down the entire process. On the other hand, contactless payment is much faster. However, there are also significant differences.

Contactless Payment with Mobile is the Fastest

This is shown by a study conducted by the Deutsche Bundesbank on the payment speed of various payment methods (Source: Bundesbank). The fastest way to pay is by using a mobile phone or smartwatch. On average, it takes only 14 seconds according to the Bundesbank’s findings.

Close behind is contactless card payment at 15.2 seconds – but only if no authentication is required. If you need to enter a PIN or provide a signature, it takes 23.3 seconds, which is more than 8 seconds longer. The slowest option is card payment with inserting the card, taking an average of 25.7 seconds.

And what about cash payment? It falls in the middle with 18.7 seconds. According to the Bundesbank, it also depends on the payment amount. Smaller amounts under 10 euros are typically finished in 15.2 seconds on average. However, larger amounts over 100 euros take more than twice as long (32.9 seconds).

There are also differences depending on the industry. On average, payment in bakeries is the quickest, while it takes the longest in furniture stores. For the study, more than 10,000 payment transactions in various industries were recorded. The measurement started from stating the purchase amount until the receipt, change, or closing of the cash drawer was handed over.

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