Why the Swiss Still Love Cash

gollum123 shares a report from the BBC: Last month, the Swiss unveiled a smart new banknote to stash in their wallets. The purple 1,000 franc bill was the latest in the Swiss National Bank (SNB) series to undergo a revamp. But this revamp comes as other nations are phasing out their high-value notes and as cash usage declines in European nations, albeit at greatly differing rates. In Switzerland, cash remains the dominant payment method. Here, there’s an assumption everyone carries cash, even in an increasingly digital economy. Most don’t get caught out buying a sandwich or paying for a haircut when the card payment machine is out of order. If you have to pay for a coffee with a 100 franc note, no need to apologize — no one will ask if you have something smaller. And for those big-ticket items, some banks even allow you to withdraw up to 5,000 francs per day (or 10,000 a month) at the cash machine without advance notice. Buying a car that costs tens of thousands with cash is also not that unusual.

Why then do the Swiss prefer cash? Two simple reasons are that cash is widely considered to be part of their culture and people believe that using it allows them to track their spending more easily. In Basel, 53-year-old Chris Troiani confirmed this, saying many people she knows still prefer the reassurance of carrying big bills in their wallet. There’s also the identity factor: the Swiss identify with cash in part because of how they see themselves. This is a nation which values privacy and doesn’t like being told what to do. They see themselves as different to their European neighbors and closely guard those traditions which set them apart, such as languages, political system and currency.

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