From cash to cashless

A short history of payment transactions

We've been paying for things for centuries, but only in the last few decades have developments in payment technology really taken off. Rabobank takes you on a brief journey through the history of payment, from coins to smartphones.

Bartering came about in prehistoric times and is still common practice in many cultures. The Chinese introduced the first coins in about 770 BC. When coins also made their entry slightly later in the Middle East, this type of payment rapidly gained ground around the world. Coins were popularised in Europe by the Greeks and Romans, and went on to remain the only means of payment for centuries across the planet. In 1252, the Netherlands introduced its own currency – the guilder – which was then replaced by the euro in 2002.

The rise of bank notes

For centuries, coins served as an excellent means of settling bills for goods and paying wages. Bank notes first came into circulation in the Netherlands in 1814. They were, however, only used for larger business transactions for the first hundred years. The first banknotes were denominated in ascending values of 25 to 1000 guilders. A thousand guilders at that time was equivalent to 18,500 euros in today’s money, a sum that was absolutely beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Bank accounts and debit cards

From that point on, things started developing very rapidly. The 1920s saw the dawn of the bank payment with the introduction of the bank account. The bank card hit the scene in the 1980s. A magnetic strip on the card meant everyone could get cash out of the wall. It was not long before consumers were also able to make cashless payments in stores.

Nearby the customer

The arrival of the internet and mobile phones then brought payments even closer the customer. And so today it has become the most normal thing in the world to check your balance and pay bills with mobile banking, and make purchases with iDeal, MyOrder or RaboWallet. Take a look at this infographic to see how payments and banking have developed from the 1970s until today.


Infographic the convenience of banking

Click on the infographic for the pdf version

Read more