Cashless societies are quickly becoming a reality. As sales generated with cash in the retail sector have declined significantly, the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland or HDE) is calling for more active political support for the shift toward mobile payments and cashless payment methods. HDE calls for national and European strategies to master the cashless society paradigm.
Germany is on the path to a cashless society. Germans are paying less and less in cash – this is the conclusion of a survey conducted by the retail research institute EHI. Last year, cash payments accounted for only 38.8 percent of sales. For this reason, the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland, HDE) now wants politics to play an even more active role in shaping future payment transactions.
“We need a national and European payment strategy for sustainable framework conditions,” explains HDE CEO Stefan Genth. Germany is approaching the already almost cashless countries of northern Europe in giant steps, and the effects of this development should be closely monitored, Genth added. “The design of future payment transactions also belongs on the political agenda,” is Genth‘s demand.
Many SMEs find it very costly to obtain change and hand over their daily takings at banks. “The cash cycle that is still functioning could topple if, on the one hand, the vast majority of customers no longer want to pay in cash and, on the other hand, maintaining cash stocks and cash processes is costly. Therefore, an intensive discussion should be initiated, steered by political decision-makers and addressing the question of how much cash we still want to afford in the future and who will bear the burden,” Genth said.
He said that strict monitoring of non-cash payment systems is urgently needed to prevent already leading, market-dominant payment systems from further strengthening their strong position.
The association sees cash as a corrective to the excessive charging policies of payment providers, many of which are globally oriented. If cash were to be removed as an alternative, payment methods already-dominant could gain additional strength. For this reason, measures to ensure that charges are fair should be discussed. The HDE intends to contribute its expertise to design framework conditions for payment systems and play an active role.