Cash Remains Central to Swiss Life
Research into Swiss payment habits confirms that ‘for the vast majority of the Swiss population, cash is still of central importance’. It remains widely used for in-person transactions, with every third payment using physical currency.
The biannual Swiss Payment Monitor is a joint research project between the University of St. Gallen and the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. It records current trends and longer-term developments in the payment market, surveying attitudes towards and use of different payment methods in spring and autumn each year.
The latest report notes the proportion of people who carry cash—around 86 percent—has remained relatively stable over the course of the pandemic. Similarly, the amount of people keeping cash holdings at home—almost 59 percent—is unchanged from the previous report.
Cash is predominantly used for smaller amounts (under 20 CHF, with the Swiss Franc being roughly equal to dollars and euros), which account for 75 percent of all cash payments. The amount of a transaction is also cited by 40 percent of respondents as being the primary reason for choosing cash, compared with 24 percent who use it out of habit and 19 percent who prefer using cash for a particular type of merchant. 11 percent also cite the speed of cash payments as being important to them.
Overall, debit cards are the most used means of payment—accounting for 31.8 percent of total market transactions—with cash remaining a close second, used for 30.2 percent of transactions. Credit cards are the third most popular choice, being used for 16.4 percent of transactions, while mobile payments are used for 13.3 percent.