Austrian Government Explores Pro-Cash Laws
Austria’s leader has advanced plans to recognise the right to use cash in law, instructing the Finance Ministry to work with the Central Bank to develop a proposal from September.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer intends to answer concerns that cash payments may become increasingly restricted as financial institutions advance more profitable cashless options, stating: ‘People in Austria have a right to cash.’
CBS News reports that, alongside neighbouring Germany, Austrians are among the highest cash users in Europe, citing government figures that show some 47 billion euros ($51 billion) are withdrawn from ATMs each year by the nation’s 9.1 million strong population.
The Chancellor’s office says the planned legislation will be ‘a constitutional protection of cash as a means of payment’ to ensure people can pay with cash whenever they choose. It will also ‘secure a basic supply of cash’ in cooperation with the Austrian National Bank.
Nehammer has instructed Finance Minister Magnus Brunner to open round table discussions with relevant ministries, finance industry and bank representatives in September.
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.