Switzerland: cash is making up 70% of all payments

On May 31 the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has published the results of the 2017 survey on payment methods displaying the behavior and the use of cash by households in Switzerland.

The survey highlights the following findings:
 

  • Cash is the most common method of payment. Of the payments recorded, 70% were processed with cash

Cash is particularly popular for small amounts. 35% of non-recurring payments that involve amounts of more than CHF 1,000 are settled with cash.
 

  • When executing payments, households resort to both small and large denomination banknotes.

The 10-franc note and the 20-franc note are used very frequently in payments. Cash is used in particular to settle small and medium-sized amounts, whereas debit card usage is increasingly common for amounts above CHF 50. Credit card use becomes widespread for amounts above CHF 200.
 

  • In addition to an average cash sum of CHF 133 held in their wallets, the average Swiss resident also possesses approximately two different cashless methods of payment.

Dominant methods of cashless payment are the debit card and the credit card. Of the transactions recorded in the survey, 22% were processed with a debit card, whereas credit card payments accounted for a share of 5%.
 

  • More innovative payment procedures such as payment apps are still not very widespread

That said, around half of respondents indicated that they would continue to pay in cash over the next few years just as often as they do today. In the light of this finding, it is possible that innovative payment options could actually displace existing cashless payment methods rather than cash payments.
 

  • The features of cash and debit cards as methods of payment are perceived as good to very good

When it comes to the decision as to which payment method to use in a specific payment situation, the focus is on the following features: security, acceptance, user-friendliness, speed of deployment and the costs associated with payment. Cash fares best in four of the five feature categories, particularly where acceptance, speed and costs are concerned. Only when the aspect of security is rated the debit card comes slightly better. This may be attributable to the fact that debit cards offer protection against financial consequences of loss or theft.

(snb/dh)


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Information about the survey

In the autumn of 2017, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) conducted a survey on payment methods for the first time. Around 2,000 people resident in Switzerland were interviewed to obtain information on their payment behavior generally and their use of cash in particular. In total more than 22,500 transactions were recorded in respondent’s diaries during a time period of over seven consecutive days.

You can find the full report on the 2017 payment methods survey at www.snb.ch.