Card payments in Germany, a traditionally cash-forward country, have surpassed cash payments for the first time in history, according to reports.
A survey by EHI Retail Institute showed that last year, card payments made up 48.6 percent of all retail sales, while cash payments made up 48.3 percent.
The main cause for the shift, according to EHI, was a 4 percent increase in sales from Germany’s debit card system, to 30.1 percent. Another reason for the change is that trust in card payments is at an all-time high in the country, a fact that’s especially true for younger Germans.
However, cash is not disappearing anytime soon in the country, especially when it comes to smaller amounts. The retailers surveyed by EHI said that they felt “cash will still dominate low-value payments in five years’ time.”
The findings of the survey line up with the country’s positive relationship with cash, as a recent study by Germany’s Bundesbank found that 88 percent of all Germans wish to continue using physical currency.
Richard Gnodde, who heads Goldman Sachs International, announced plans to roll out Marcus into Germany a year ago. The initiative was expected to launch in 2019 to coincide with Brexit, but sources have now told The Financial Times that the decision to postpone was made after the six-month Brexit delay removed the need to quickly set up a new deposit base within the EU.
“We want euro deposits and Germany will be where it is,” one of the sources said, adding that “if [Brexit] had happened [on] March 29, we would have wanted [Germany] more urgently.”
In addition, rushing to launch Marcus in Germany would also have been “expensive,” and there has been more of a focus on keeping costs down across Goldman Sachs.