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Quick answer
"En efectivo" is a phrase which is often translated as "in cash", and "al contado" is an adverb which is often translated as "cash". Learn more about the difference between "en efectivo" and "al contado" below.
en efectivo(
ehn
 
eh
-
fehk
-
tee
-
boh
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (general)
a. in cash
¿Cómo quieres que te pague? - En efectivo, por favor.How do you want me to pay you? - In cash, please.
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al contado(
ahl
 
kohn
-
tah
-
doh
)
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (with money in coins or bills)
a. cash
No aceptamos cheques ni tarjetas de crédito. Tendrá que pagarlo al contado.We don't take checks or credit cards. You'll have to pay cash for it.
b. in cash
Sacó un fajo de billetes del bolso y pagó el coche al contado.She took a wad of bills from her bag and paid for the car in cash.
2. (with full and immediate payment)
a. cash
Yo siempre prefiero pagar al contado y olvidarme.I always prefer to pay cash and then forget about it.
b. cash down
¿Comprasteis el televisor a plazos o al contado?Did you buy your TV in installments or cash down?
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
3. (immediate)
a. cash
El precio al contado es de €2,000; o, si lo prefiere, puede hacer cuatro pagos mensuales de €525.Its cash price is €2,000; or, if you prefer, you can make four monthly payments of €525.
b. cash down
Exigen un pago al contado que tiene que ser del 20% del total.They demand a cash down payment that has to be 20% of the total.
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