Swiss Buck The Trend, Embrace Their Cash

Despite the push toward a cashless society in many countries, residents in Switzerland are still in love with their cash, which is used regularly to purchase all sorts of things, both small and large.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the love of cash in Switzerland doesn’t seem to be slowing down, even though, at the beginning of 2016, the country implemented a cap on the amount of cash a person can use for one purchase without officials being alerted. In Spain, that limit is around $2,600 per purchase, while in France it’s around $1,050. However, in Switzerland, the cap is around $97,700, or 100,000 Swiss francs. If the transaction is over 100,000 Swiss francs, a retailer has to confirm identities and report the transactions that they deem to be suspicious.

The Financial Action Task Force said in a report in December that the Swiss limit seemed very high even for the Swiss and that it is too early to tell if the cap will be effective in stopping fraud. The limit went into effect after lots of debate by lawmakers. The report noted that there are a number of reasons why the Swiss love their cash, including that it’s a relatively safe country so there’s not that much fear of theft. It’s largely rural, many transactions happen in person and money is viewed as something that is tangible.

The WSJ noted that, compared to other countries, the Swiss hold a lot more cash. The paper noted that the value of banknotes and coins that are in circulation per each Swiss citizen was $9,214 in 2015. That compares to $4,433 in the U.S. and $3,571 in the eurozone.


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