Cashless Registers Explode in NL Supermarkets: Maestro Usage Increases

Miriam Osten, Manager for Stichting Bevorderen Efficiënt Betalen (SBEB)

The number of cashless or ‘cards only’ registers in Dutch supermarkets have increased significantly over the past three years. In part, this growth came as a result of the national Hotspot Project that began in early 2012 by the Foundation for Promoting Efficient Payments (SBEB). The goal of the initiative was to increase safety and convenience for consumers in stores that accept debit cards. In collaboration with retailers, banks, MasterCard, and the CBL national association of supermarkets, nine municipalities were selected for introducing ‘cards only’ registers to stores as an alternative to standard cash registers that accept both cash and cards. To promote the use of these cards-only registers, consumers could win prizes when paying with their Maestro debit card.

The registers were introduced city by city. The roll out in 9 cities finished in Zwolle, where a ceremony took place in one of the nearly 700 Albert Heijn stores that have been equipped with the ‘cards only’ registers since mid-October. Cees van Vliet, Chairman of the Task Force Less Cash and Retail Operations Director at Albert Heijn, submitted the final report with the results of Hotspot Project in 2012.   According to the report:

  • ‘Cards Only’ Registers grew from 600 in 2009 to 4312 in 2012, spread throughout 1,500 stores across the Netherlands;
  • Cashless transactions increased significantly, with the 100 millionth ‘card-only’ register transaction reached this past October; and
  • Consumers responded positively to this innovation, citing they understand that it is safer for employees and find using their debit card more convenient to use than cash.

Additionally, The Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten responded enthusiastically to the success of the project: “A great achievement! Now there is less cash and more security in stores, without costing extra! I hope that all supermarkets introduce ‘cards only’ registers in 2013. Thier success has already been proven.”

We believe at this pace, 100 million transactions at ‘card only’ registers can be expected in 2013, the same amount as the previous 3.5 years combined. However, the challenge ahead will be to convince more stores in different sectors, to introduce this type of register as well.

Are you a retailer that’s ready to cashless or ‘card only’? Let us know in the comment section below.