Cash is losing importance. There are no official plans to abolish banknotes and coins. However, more and more people from politics and business are calling for upper limits, which are raising fears of abolition. This would mean we would lose independence and freedom. A comment.

Recently in the supermarket: Numerous people leave the store in a rage. They simply leave their shopping carts, some of which are full to the brim, behind. Others pull out their wallets and rummage around wildly.

“We're sorry,” a cashier shouts across half the store: “Card payments are not possible at the moment.” The internet was down. Since I don't have any cash on me, I wonder what I should do now: leave the store with the angry mob, right? I have time and decide to wait. After about five minutes, the card readers start working again.

Abolish cash? That's not a good idea!

Admittedly, the situation turned out relatively well. But it could have been worse. Digital and technical systems are always at risk of failing in times of cyber attacks or power outages.

This is also why many people prefer cash. Statistics show that mobile payment methods using smartphones are on the rise (18 percent).

However, cash is still the most commonly used means of payment in Germany, accounting for over 70 percent. Payments by debit and credit card, on the other hand, have stagnated at 30 percent for several years.

Cash is anonymity and freedom

If cash were abolished, we would run the risk of becoming dependent on digital and technical systems – at the expense of our freedom. Banknotes and coins are also anonymous. We can buy things with them without anyone being able to trace what we did with them and when.

The issue of anonymity hardly plays a role in this country. However, authoritarian states such as China reveal that they keep a close eye on the payment transactions of their transparent citizens. Many companies are also interested in our payment data, for example to advertise.

In addition, digital payment methods always carry the risk that criminals will steal our data. Mobile payment and debit and credit cards are extremely practical. However, cash should always be an alternative and should not be abolished under any circumstances. A debate about upper limits also seems pointless.

Experts are critical of the stated goal of combating money laundering and criminal activities by limiting the amount of cash. There is also no evidence that this would have any positive effect at all. Since criminals are more likely to conduct their activities through shell companies anyway, abolishing cash is likely to have only a small positive effect – at the expense of our independence and freedom.

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