The Challenge

Those who take part make a commitment to increase the fraction of their expenses that they pay in cash and to work on getting others to participate – in personal conversations, via social media, newsletters, lectures or letters to the editor. In this way, we want to ensure that no further decrease in cash usage can be reported, but rather an increase.

Then the opponents of cash can no longer feed us their narrative that the disappearance of cash is a natural, inevitable development, as opposed to development they are actively working to bring about.  If we use our wallets in droves to send this powerful message, to show how important cash is to us as a bulwark against total financial surveillance, it will make an impression in the media and in politics. If we join forces in this way, our political representatives will realize that they can lose votes not only if they would actively demand cash restrictions, but also if they kept turning a blind eye to the policy of a thousand pinpricks against cash users – and that they can win votes if they take a stand against this policy.


Cash-users are being belittled as old-fashioned and hostile to progress. “The  enemies of cash are trying to make us believe that the path to the cashless future is a natural development because convenient new technologies are gaining ground. Not a word that banks and governments are doing everything they can to make cash uncomfortable, expensive, and suspicious. In this way, they bring about a decrease in the use of cash and use this in turn to say: “The public’s love affair with cash is slowly but steadily cooling.” This narrative must be counteracted with the strong political statement that an increase in the use of cash would send.

Cash is Convenient and Cheap

A huge PR campaign is trying to make us believe that cash is old-fashioned, impractical, expensive, dirty, polluting and what else. However, the Deutsche Bundesbank published an investigation in February 2019 proving that at the point of sale cash is still the fastest and cheapest means of payment. Up to amounts of 100 euros, cash payments are significantly faster on average than card payments. Up to amounts of 50 euros, cash is also cheaper for merchants in full cost accounting than card payments.

Statistics on the Use of Cash

The Bundesbank collects statistics on the share of different payment methods as a percentage of all expenses every three years (excluding recurring expenses such as rent, ancillary costs, etc.)

In 2017, the cash share was 47.5% of the total volume, which was less than half for the first time. That was a good 10 percentage points less than in 2008. Measured by the number of payment transactions, the proportion of cash was 74.5%, a good 8 percentage points less than in 2008. If at least 50% of the volume and 75% of the transactions was reached the next time the Bundesbank collects the statistics, I would consider the #CashChallenge a success.

Political Demands

I invite citizens to demand from their representatives that they work for:

  • Germany (and other countries) withdrawing from the G20’s anti-cash alliance “Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion”.
  • German governement-owned development agency giz no longer providing secretarial services to the anti-cash organization “Alliance for Financail Inclusioon”,
  • the German government (and others) not giving money and support any more to the anti-cash-organization Better Than Cash Alliance,
  • the EU reversing its directive, according to which customs officers can confiscate any small amount of cash when crossing the border, simply on the basis that something seems suspicious to them,
  • requiring all public offices to accept the legal tender cash, without additional costs or disadvantages for the citizens,
  • the withdrawal of the absurd EU regulation No. 1210/2010, which imposes on the banks to check all (!) accepted coins for counterfeiting, which makes cash services unnecessarily expensive for businesses,
  • the withdrawal of harassing anti-money laundering rules for banks dealing with small and medium-sized cash transactions,
  • a ban on banks to impose costs on cash payouts to their own depositors,
  • a reversal of the EU-regulation that prohibits merchants from passing on card costs to card-using customers.
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