World without cash?

  • Type of event:

    Public expert discussion (with live broadcast)

  • Venue:

    Paul-Löbe-Haus, Bundestag

  • Date:


  • Time:

    15:00 - 17:00 

welt bargeld Aleksandr Belugin/
How is payment changing in view of technological and regulatory innovation and what challenges is the European banking sector facing?

What was the issue?

Hardly any other country is as loyal to cash payments as Germany. A good two-thirds of all payments are still made with notes and coins, and in many restaurants and shops Girocard payments are still not possible. In Sweden, on the other hand, 95 percent of retail sales are already made without cash, and Swedish shops and service outlets often no longer accept cash. A report published by the Swedish Board of Trade even predicts that by March 2023 it may no longer be worthwhile for Swedish retailers to accept cash payments from their customers. In China, even the era of card payments has been leapfrogged, so to speak: By means of smartphones and platform applications such as "WeChatPay", the lion's share of payment transactions is processed - even of very small amounts and at mobile stalls, food stalls, etc.

Despite traditional payment behaviour, girocard and credit card payments as well as internet payment methods such as "PayPal" are of course also established in Germany, and products such as "Apple Pay" as well as banking and payment apps from a wide range of providers are changing payment transactions. In addition, cryptocurrencies represent an alternative means of payment for certain transactions (albeit currently still in niches). Facebook's announcement to launch its own cryptocurrency under the name "Libra" in 2020 had generated a lot of media coverage worldwide.

The Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) is currently conducting a brief study on current trends and developments in the payments ecosystem. In the expert discussion, the interim results of the short study were presented in the form of a thesis paper and discussed with experts from academia as well as representatives of industry associations, civil society organisations and companies as well as with interested MPs from the ABFTA and other committees.

The following questions guided the discussion:

  • How has payment in Germany developed in light of technological and regulatory innovations as well as societal trends, and what are the implications?
  • What strategies and business models are new and traditional players pursuing and what changes are emerging in the payment ecosystem as a result?
  • What challenges does the European banking industry face?

Further Information 

Recording of the event