Cash usage at a historic low in Germany

While cash has always been King, card payments have dethroned it now signalling the creeping end of privacy rights and freedom.

In a historic development, an analysis from Bundesbank study shows that the majority of Germans prefer card payments instead of cash. The supremacy of cash in Germany which ensured privacy and freedom of its citizens has now been dented by credit cards.

As per an analysts of the survey, cash transactions accounted for only 47.6% of all transactions in Germany in 2017, down from 53.2% from 2014. This is also the first time, since this kind of polling started in 2008, where cash cash transactions have dipped well below the half way mark.

Card payments have been responsible for the changes, and have gained 39.4% market share in 2017, up from 33.4% in 2014.

The results of the poll mirrors a global trend that has long taken hold in many countries including Sweden and Britain.

“Cash remains the most popular, but card payments are increasing,” said Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a board member of Bundesbank.

Incidentally, payments through the internet have also grown and account for a modest 3.7% of total volume.

According to the recent study conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB), Germans and Austrians are the biggest users of cash among countries in the Eurozone’s richer “core”.

This preference for cash has long been associated with deep ingrained worries on the infringement of privacy rights, some of which can be traced back to the Nazi era and to East Germany.

The survey shows, most German think of cash being a useful tool to teach children about the use of money and ensure a more prudent control of one’s personal finances.

A sizable majority opine that the abolition of coins and notes, could cause problems in many parts of the population, including the elderly; only a third of those polled believe that the abolition of cash will help fight money laundering and tax evasion.

Two years ago, when the government tried to push for an upper limit of 5,000 euros to cash payments, it met with a fierce resistance, including from its own central bank.

In 2016, Bundesbank was the lone figure which opposed ECB’s decision to retire the 500 euro note, its highest denomination, due to suspicions that it was used by criminals.


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