In our study, we analyse the payment habits of the Hungarian population based on data from a representative questionnaire survey conducted in autumn 2020 using basic statistical methods, regression analysis and cluster analysis. Our results show that at least 90 per cent of households in Hungary have at least one bank account or payment card. Overall coverage is high and falls significantly short of 100 per cent only for the over-60s , so this is not a major barrier to further adoption of electronic payments. Although in decreasing proportions, cash incomes are still present in the Hungarian economy today, especially for those performing manual labour and entrepreneurial activities. In European comparison, Hungarians withdraw cash fewer times, but in significantly larger amounts, and the possibility of free cash withdrawals twice a month is likely to have had a strong influence on the consolidation of this practice. Around 80 per cent of the population use electronic payments, a proportion that is steadily increasing, but at the same time almost all citizens still use cash, too. An important change compared to previous data is that the share of people using electronic payments to pay their utility bills now exceeds the share of people using cash, and the same is true for online purchases. The use of, and choice between, different payment methods is most influenced by different socio-demographic factors (age, education, employment status, household income per capita), transaction situation and the perceived cost of each payment method to consumers. The coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions it imposed increased the use of electronic payment methods even further, but cash still remained the most commonly used means of payment during this period. In the future, the mandatory acceptance of electronic payments for online cash register users from 1 January 2021 and the emergence of user-friendly, low-cost applications based on instant payments are expected to further support the growth of electronic payments. However, for certain demographic groups, cash use may remain dominant even in the long term.

JEL-codes: C38, D12, D14, E42
Keywords: retail payments, payment habits, household behaviour, electronic payment methods, financial integration