Cashless Switzerland: 72 percent oppose phasing out physical money
With the prevalence of debit cards and paying via your mobile phone, and the fact that even Swiss farm shops in the sticks accept Twint, many have predicted that old-fashioned paper money is not long for this Earth. However, a new study from the University of St. Gallen has suggested that people in Switzerland are not keen to let go of cash anytime soon.
72 percent oppose getting rid of Swiss franc notes and coins
In the survey, the university found that 72 percent of people in Switzerland would oppose banning or phasing out cash and coins in the future. This sentiment is strongest among those over 60 years old, with 90 percent of them opposing the idea of a cashless economy. The idea also remains unthinkable for the vast majority of 50 to 59-year-olds and 40 percent of those aged between 40 and 49.
“The fact that the population has long been accustomed to paying by credit card and other cashless solutions in no way means that they are in favour of doing away with cash,” noted University of St. Gallen professor Sven Reinecke. Only 28 percent of the Swiss population thought giving up cash was a good idea. Cashless living was most popular among 18 to 39-year-olds, with 70 percent reporting being either undecided or in favour of scrapping cash.
Cash is no longer king in Switzerland
The findings are in contrast to a report from the Swiss National Bank, which found that the share of transactions in Switzerland settled with paper money or coins has fallen from 70 percent in 2017 to 36 percent in 2022. However, also in 2022, the Bank for International Settlements found that people in Switzerland hold an average of 11.824 US dollars in physical money - the most in the world - with many elderly members of the population still using cash exclusively.
Interestingly, the University of St. Gallen study found that people’s attitudes towards paper money changed based on salary. While 83 percent of people with an income of less than 4.000 francs a month want to keep paying in cash, only 59 percent of workers with an income of 12.000 francs a month or more want to keep physical currency.
Global crisis makes paper money attractive, expert notes
Speaking to 20 Minuten, Christian Brenner, director of precious metal dealer Philoro, argued that global instability is the main reason why a cashless world seems so undesirable to the Swiss. “The war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East show people that we live in unstable times. We are once again focusing more on the [payment] means that have proven their worth,” he noted.