The Swiss population increasingly switches to cashless payments. Fintech products and payment services from BigTech-companies gain in popularity. The SNB still reaffirms its commitment to cash, as it offers a range of advantages, in particular for non-digital natives and for privacy protection.

The use of cash has continuously gone down in the last ten years all around the world. It makes sense: Digital money is more convenient, and today transactions can be completed within seconds via smartphone, both online and in-store at retailers, markets, and shopping malls. So why use cash at all?

Martin Schlegel, Deputy Director at the Swiss central bank “Swiss National Bank” (SNB), said at the Financial Stability Forum in Liechtenstein that he was convinced “that cash will be around for a long time.” Despite the increase in electronic means of payment, the SNB assumes that cash will remain popular with people.

Swiss slightly more tech-savvy

A survey by the consultancy Strategy& paints a somewhat different picture. Only 35 percent of the Swiss population still prefer cash as a means of payment. The rest prefer to pay by card or app. That makes the Swiss slightly more willing to use electronic means of payment than their European peers. According to the study, 37 percent still prefer cash in Europe. In Denmark, the figure is only 17 percent, while in Germany, it is still more than half.

The consultants surveyed 5750 people in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and Turkey in September and October. Strategy& is part of the international accounting firm PwC.

Fintechs and BigTechs gain traction

Interestingly, the willingness to open a bank account with fintech start-ups or the payment services of technology companies such as Apple and Google is also high in Switzerland at 48 percent. In Austria, the figure is 39 percent, and in Germany 27 percent.

Also, besides cashless payment methods like debit or credit cards, smartphone payments have gained traction. According to this year’s banking survey by the management consultants, there is already a not-so-small minority in Europe that regularly goes shopping without a wallet and prefers to pay by mobile phone: On average, across the 15 countries, it was 21 percent.

SNB confirms commitment to cash

Even though the SNB reaffirmed its commitment to cash, Martin Schlegel also confirms the trend to cashless payments. At the conference in Liechtenstein, he said that other means of payment, such as

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