Germans Love for Cash Payments Is Crumbling
Germans traditionally value paying with cash. A recent survey showed that while distrust in non-cash payments remains high, cash payments have continued to decline since the pandemic. This is part of a larger trend in which Germans are being conditioned to loosen their grip on freedom.
According to faz.net, “People in Germany are more attached to cash than those in other countries—despite this, non-cash means of payment are becoming increasingly popular for shopping, even in stationary retail.”
Continuing trend: A 2021 study by the Deutsche Bundesbank found that participants used banknotes for 58 percent of their payments in 2020, down from 74 percent in 2017. A study by Bank C24 in Frankfurt now shows that only 38 percent of Germans prefer cash when paying in stores; non-cash payment methods account for 57 percent of purchases.
- Germans have a greater distrust in government surveillance and the financial system in general due to past events. But during lockdowns, many stores demanded card payments, forcing Germans to change their habits. This was enough to get the ball rolling toward a general acceptance of a cashless society.
“Even after the pandemic, the share of cash in retail sales continues to shrink,” wrote faz.net. “This has consequences: Some people now don’t even go to atms.”
Gaining control: The less people use cash, the more traceable their spending habits become. In a functioning democracy with a well-established balance of power between those who make the law, those who enforce the law and those who interpret the law, this trend is not concerning. But once this balance of power is disturbed, citizens need to fear surveillance and, in a cashless society, even exclusion. Cash is one way to ensure your own independence—that’s partially why so many in Germany held on to it. The Bible, however, reveals that a time is coming in Germany when the government will have much more control over its citizens (Revelation 13 and 17).
Learn more: Read “Coronavirus and the Holy Roman Empire.”