Just 45% of all purchases in Dutch shops, cafes and petrol stations were made in cash last year, as direct debit cards continue their upward march, the Dutch central bank said on Monday.
The use of plastic to pay has outstripped cash since 2015. Last year, 54.5% of shop and cafe bills were paid with direct debit cards, 0.5% by credit card and the rest in cash.
In total, 2.95 billion cash transactions were made with a total value of €38bn, down from 3.19 billion in 2015.
Teenagers, pensioners and manual workers are most likely to pay in cash, although teenagers are rapidly making the switch, the bank said in a statement. The most frequent debit card users are young adults aged 19 to 24.
The Netherlands has several retail chains which no longer accept cash payments, such as Marqt and the Vlaamse Broodhuis. Supermarkets like Albert Heijn are also introducing cash-free checkout desks and public transport in Amsterdam is poised to eradicate cash altogether later by 2018.
In 2015, Dutch banks and retailers signed a covenant to discourage the use of cash, which they say will boost the security and efficiency of the payment system.