Where can I print (or copy) in the Netherlands?

Before Covid-19, a Dutchman, with his own broken printer or no printer at all, walked into a library to make a print. No less than 417 Dutch libraries had printing facilities. This allowed him to print in a simple way. During the Covid-19 crisis, the question “where can I print?” It was much more difficult to answer.

Print services are expanding from the library to retail and supermarket

Many telecommuters found that printing at home was useful after all. However, pupils and students liked to print at their educational institutions before the era of Covid-19. Last year, the school buildings were occasionally open, half-open, or fully closed. The libraries were also limited to their main tasks. Printing was no longer allowed, or only without the help of library staff. After December, the photocopy shops in the city center also closed their doors due to strict controls.

The only ones that have escaped the crisis have been the supermarkets. Here the photocopiers continued to function without problems. Some supermarkets, such as SPAR, have even expanded their services to include Printing, Mailing & Fulfillment Arlington, VA. They also benefited from longer opening hours than, for example, libraries and copy shops. It is also possible to print at certain convenience stores such as Primera & Bruna. In a sense, supermarkets and convenience stores have taken over the social task of libraries. Therefore, on the website,  both libraries and convenience stores are listed together.

The cloud makes printing possible anywhere

This new form of service is possible thanks to a technical novelty: the cloud (the cloud). First of all, users save documents to their iCloud or Google Drive with their computers. The big advantage: they can open them on their mobile anywhere. Second, today it is possible to launch a print job at home and pick it up elsewhere. The print job will “be” in the cloud for hours or even a few days until you pick it up at the (nearest printer). Third, according to figures from search engine giant Google, consumers increasingly prefer to print from their smartphones. And this is now also possible through the cloud.

Are easy prints and copies still the domain of the library post-Covid?

Should libraries fear for their position (in the market) when it comes to convenience printing and copying? It does not seem. The library has considerable adaptability. Dutch libraries want to be socially relevant. First, libraries quickly established leasing systems, where people made digital reservations and picked up books by appointment. Second, during the crisis, libraries slow more and more digital publications. Third, libraries, like Starbucks coffee shops, want to be a second home for their patrons.

In addition to the adaptability of libraries, research shows that no less than 36% of the number (1,286!) library locations in the Netherlands have a printing facility. This is mainly for members but is also increasingly open to non-regular guests. And that’s good: a library within, and for, society.

Although the chance of becoming infected with the coronavirus through hand contact with cash has been shown to be small, the outbreak played a significant role in the rise of contactless payments. Especially retailers encouraged payment by card or mobile phone to minimize the risk of infection. Due to digitization, which started well before 2020, the number of PIN payments in the Netherlands doubled in 10 years, and since the start of the pandemic, consumers in the Netherlands use contactless payments four times more than cash. But does this evolution also apply to other European countries? For example, in Romania, where last year 78% of transactions were still paid in cash. And what about Germany? If you plan to visit this country,

So who’s still paying cash?

If you live in Norway, where only 3% of all transactions are paid for with cash, it can be hard to imagine that there are countries that don’t really want to part with cash just yet. Merchant Machine has compiled a list of the ten countries that are most dependent on cash. Romania tops the list, followed by Egypt, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Morocco, the Philippines, Peru, Hungary, and Vietnam. The article lists the number of people without a bank account, (limited) access to the Internet, and ATMs available per 100,000 inhabitants. In Romania, only 42% of the population has a bank account compared to 100% in Norway.

Why is cash so popular in countries like Germany?

If a country has (proper) Internet access, most have a bank account, and there are enough ATMs in the surrounding area, it could be concluded that cash payments are becoming less popular there as well. But it’s not always like this. Take Germany, for example, where cash payments were still very common before the pandemic hit. In the early days of the corona crisis, there was even 12% more cash in circulation than the year before.

There are other reasons, besides the limited availability and accessibility of payment services and the Internet, why people choose cash over contactless payments. Some Germans say they prefer to pay anonymously, find cash not subject to technical problems, have more control over their spending and prefer to avoid the added costs of debit cards or potential negative interest rates from banks.

Cash is also still popular among the Spanish, and even now it has been established by Royal Decree that paying in cash is a right. This change in the law, which came into force on May 28, 2022, aims to protect the elderly and people living in rural areas from financial exclusion. As in the case of the Germans, privacy is an important reason for the Spanish to pay in cash.

Contactless payments on the rise

However, the coronavirus has caused a considerable change in the behavior of consumers when it comes to paying. Following the recommendations of the WHO (World Health Organization), consumers around the world were urged to make contactless payments, to the extent possible, using smartphones or cards. Also in Germany, more than half of Girocard payments were made contactless within days of this recommendation, according to a spokeswoman for the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft (DK). Mobile and/or contactless payments are especially popular among younger Germans. 71% of those under 40 use digital payment methods and 36% of them even use mobile payments and contactless card payments side by side.

In Spain, more than 14 million people already use a mobile payment application and a Telecoming analysis shows that Spain is number 3 in the list with the highest number of contactless payments in Europe, after the United Kingdom and France.

Which country will be the first to go completely cashless?

The huge growth in contactless payments and online shopping due to the coronavirus outbreak has caused a huge shift from cash to contactless and digital payments everywhere, but not at the same speed. In Europe, payment preferences remain very mixed. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, some European countries were well on their way to a cashless future. The countries that pay the least in cash are Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

In Sweden, it is legal for vendors to refuse cash, ATMs are in very short supply, and cash transactions are no longer possible at most banks. In Norway, 3 out of 4 transactions are made contactless. Surprisingly, this country has fully embraced mobile payments. 95% of the population uses mobile payment applications. The Dutch are leaders in making payments through their smartwatches, with 33% of transactions in Europe. The Bank of Finland has predicted that their country will be completely cashless by 2029, based on the fact that 98% of Finns have a debit card. Therefore, the entire population will be able to pay without using cash.

The reason why the Scandinavian countries dominate the list is explained by the trust they have in their governments and banks. They think their money is safe there. Furthermore, Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns have a high level of computer literacy, regardless of age. Banks are also very proactive in anticipating digital technological advances.

Advantages of contactless payments

The main reason people pay contactless is speed and convenience. You hold your card or phone in front of a reader and pay. No need to enter a PIN code (up to a certain amount), no sign a receipt when using a credit card, and no counting all cash/coins. This saves time and effort and avoids long lines.

Security also plays an important role. With credit card payments, sellers have your details and fraudulent transactions can occur. But carrying (a lot of) cash can also carry risks such as theft. Or what if miscalculations or counting errors are made?

If young people are asked why they like to pay contactless with their mobile phone, they will say that they always carry it with them anyway. For them, it is about comfort and safety.

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