Austria Values Cash and Payment Choice

Feb 12, 2024

A study of Austrian payment behaviour shows around 40 percent of citizens prefer cash to cashless payment options and the same amount highlighting the value of physical money for budgeting.

The survey of one thousand Austrian adults—conducted by Visa in collaboration with the Forsa Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis—also indicated around 22 percent of small shops are currently cash-only. This is unsurprising given high transaction fees are often cited as a barrier to implementing card payments for small and medium-sized businesses.

Tipping is an area where cash use is more frequent (at 49 percent) than cashless (33 percent), with the majority citing concerns that ‘digital payments will not reach staff’—a problem that was highlighted in the US by the Washington Post.

While the survey suggests cashless payment methods have gained popularity over the past few years, it also underscores the continued importance of cash and payment choice to many people, with Austria and Germany traditionally being strongholds for cash preference.

Fortunately, the freedom in payment choice may soon be recognised by law, with Chancellor Karl Nehammer instructing the Finance Ministry to work with the Central Bank from September 2023 to develop a proposal for pro-cash legislation.

Everyone should have the opportunity to decide freely how and with what he wants to pay. That can be by card, by transfer, perhaps in future also with the digital euro, but also with cash. This freedom to choose must and will remain.
"Chancellor Karl Nehammer
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2024