Does anyone still use cash?

Good old coins and banknotes are increasingly being replaced by apps and credit cards. While in China and Sweden, cash is now only a marginal phenomenon, the Swiss still seem to insist on paying with cash. Among the population, views on a cashless society are very divisive. In its discussion paper, the Swiss Bankers Association identifies the consequences of this development – including some that one would not initially expect.

The launch of the crypto currency Libra by the Geneva-based Libra Association recently announced by Facebook has made waves and once again fuelled the discussion about the elimination of cash in Switzerland. Convenient and digital payment options have long become part of our everyday lives and will become even more important in the future. Together with other Scandinavian countries, Sweden is regarded as leading the way to a cashless society. Switzerland ranks in the mid-range of this development. But is this even a competition that should be won? Is less cash automatically better and more progressive?

At this year’s Fintech Fair in Zurich, there was a poster on which visitors could indicate their view with regards to a cashless society by sticking a dot under the view they shared. The majority of people stuck their dot in the section that called for getting rid of cash as quickly as possible. This is hardly surprising, seeing as people attending a trade show dedicated to fintech tend to have a strong affinity for anything digital.

But what about the rest of the population? The reasons to dislike the concept of a cashless society are varied. One key point, which the media is also concentrating on, is the control of consumer behaviour that this brings with it. But the question of inclusion, or in other words, who isn’t capable of paying with an app, also arises as payment transactions become increasingly digitalised.

Read the discussion paper Cashless society and share your views with us.

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Deborah Jungo-Schwalm
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Dagmar Laub
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