The future of payment: a person paying via TWINT with a cell phone held to a card reader.
Financial Literacy

Will Cash Become Extinct?

Cash or card? The preference for a means of payment varies from country to country. In Scandinavia, for instance, payments are made almost exclusively by card – whether at the kiosk or the supermarket. But what is the situation in Switzerland?

Will cash soon be a thing of the past?

No. Despite many new payment methods, Switzerland remains a cash country. According to a survey by in 2017, 85% of the Swiss population cannot imagine doing without cash. Over the past decade, the volume of cash withdrawals has also steadily increased.

Cash is not only a popular means of payment, people also like keeping it at home. For instance, a study by shows that the Swiss keep an average of 1,115 francs at home.

85 %

of the Swiss population cannot imagine doing without cash., 2017

What is the Swiss population's preferred alternative to cash?

If there is no possibility of paying with cash, a credit card is often used, typically for orders in online shops, booking flights, or payments abroad. According to the survey by, nine out of ten Swiss have a credit card.

For payments with a credit card, the contactless function is especially popular. A survey by Comparis shows that, already, one in two people pay without entering a PIN.


of the Swiss population owns a credit card., 2017


of the Swiss population uses TWINT., 2017


of all Swiss have invested in cryptocurrencies., 2017

In Switzerland, nearly everyone has a smartphone. Will paying with a cell phone soon replace cash?

Thanks to new technologies such as TWINT, mobile payment – meaning payment by smartphone – gained its first users. For instance, eight percent of the Swiss already use TWINT in supermarkets and online shops or transfer money from smartphone to smartphone with the app. User numbers are still rather low at present, though this is not surprising, explains Prof. Andreas Dietrich of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts on his blog. "Innovations in payment transactions always need time before spreading to the wider population." He therefore believes that mobile payments will become much more important in the future and that growth rates similar to those for contactless payments are to be expected.

And what about Bitcoin?

With the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009, the first cryptocurrency was launched. Unlike conventional currencies, Bitcoin does not depend on any bank or other institution. To date, only a few shops accept Bitcoin as a means of payment. Therefore, it is more of an investor currency than a normal means of payment. Nevertheless, the new currencies have arrived in the land of banks: nine percent of Swiss, according to a representative survey by, have invested in Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency.

Where is the trend headed?

A cash-free society, like in Scandinavia, will likely not come to pass so quickly in Switzerland. For instance, demand for cash has even increased since the introduction of negative interest. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that other payment methods will catch on more and more in the future.