Germany Going Cashless: What Could Go Wrong?

The German tech chain Gravis, as of January 16, no longer accepts cash payments. The decision came after “a successful test phase in select stores based on the above-average acceptance of cashless payment.” One of Germany’s best-known technology retailers, Gravis claims to be “Germany’s largest authorized Apple retail chain” and the “largest certified Apple service partner” in Europe.

A cashless ripple effect may spread through Europe—all the way to Europe’s central bank.

Gravis’s new concept “no longer includes a checkout counter in the conventional sense.” Instead, customers use mobile terminals to make cashless payments. The company claims that the elimination of cash saves employees time and provides more security against counterfeit money and in the daily transport of cash to the bank.

“For us as a retailer, cashless payment is more cost effective, simpler, and it enables faster processes,” Gravis wrote. “[T]here may still be a need for explanations in individual cases at the beginning,” but “most” customers would understand “the advantages of cashless payment.”

“The issue of cash is particularly emotionally charged in Germany, a country where cash is still used comparatively often,” Spiegel Online wrote. “At a company like Gravis, for example, one argument in favor of cash payment would be that it has not been a problem to buy technical devices and accessories there anonymously with this means of payment in the past.”

“Should other businesses do away with cash, too?” Bild asked in an online survey. Three out of 4 of respondents said no.

German journalist and author Boris Reitschuster advocated for a boycott of Gravis, claiming, “Cash is freedom in action. It’s not for nothing that politicians are trying to massively restrict its use—all the way to banning it. Then every payment is traceable, and we have the transparent citizen.”

But the resistance likely won’t stop Gravis nor others.

In December, German bank Raiffeisenbank Hochtaunus closed all of its branches, stating: “Deposits and withdrawals at the branch (counter as well as atm) will no longer be possible in the future.” Shifting to online banking saves money.

In a 2022 report, the German Central Bank noted that people withdrew an average of 10 percent less in 2021 than in 2017. These surveys are used to justify the introduction of a digital euro issued by the European Central Bank. (Read “Is Cash on the Way Out in Germany?” for more information.)

This trend is risking the privacy of citizens. And it has far wider implications.

Even though the average German has long opposed this trend, these recent events signal that opposition is waning or being ignored. Late educator Herbert W. Armstrong explained in Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? that Germany will be at the forefront of reintroducing tyrannical measures to this world as prophesied in Revelation 13. Abolishing cash and introducing a cashless society would contribute to that prophetic outcome. For those willing to see, signs are all around us that Mr. Armstrong’s forecast was right. Learn more in our free booklet He Was Right.