Austria: Europe’s Cash Wunderkind – Matthias Schroth – [Episode #8]

Podcast Intro (00:00:00) – Hello. Welcome to P.I.T. Exchange, a podcast by Currency Research. Join us as we discuss the latest in payments, innovation and technology with the industry’s most innovative thought leaders. Today’s payments are changing and moving around the world faster than ever before and P.I.T. Exchange gives you the knowledge and insights to keep up. Sit back and relax as we join Currency Research, exchanging ideas with today’s special guest.

Jens Seidl (00:00:33) – Welcome everybody to The P.I.T. Exchange, the podcast about payments, innovation and technology. My name is Jens Seidl. I’m your host for today, and I’m very glad to welcome a very special guest to the podcast today. Matthias Schroth from the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, the Bank of Austria. Matthias, welcome. It’s great to have you here.

Matthias Schroth (00:00:56) – Yeah. Thank you Jens for the invitation. Yeah. Glad to see you.

Jens Seidl (00:01:00) – Great. maybe, we’ve known each other for a few years now, but obviously not everybody on the podcast will know about you and what you do necessarily. So maybe we’ll start with a quick introduction, if that’s okay.Tell us a little bit about you and what you do for the Bank of Austria.

Matthias Schroth (00:01:17) – Yeah. Of course, yeah. I’m the director for cash management, equity interests and internal service for, for around three years already. and, I’m in the central bank of Austria for a much longer period than this. So, like, for almost 24 years already, and I’m, I studied law in Austria, at the University of Vienna and trying to in the age of 26, then the central bank, I was an air lawyer. And later on I became the general counsel for almost like seven, eight years before I got into this position where I am now.

Jens Seidl (00:01:54) – All right. Great. Well, it’s great to have you here because, I think cash is often forgotten, when people talk about payments and what’s going on in payments, everybody’s looking at the, the new, exciting, technology driven stuff. But cash is still very much, at the basis of, of what’s happening, in payments and even more so in Austria.

Jens Seidl (00:02:15) – I think Austria is the, the biggest cash user in the eurozone. Is that right?

Matthias Schroth (00:02:21) – Yeah. I don’t think you’ve had the biggest. I think it’s Slovenia, and Malta is somehow like, on the same level, but more or less we are. So, in Austria, if you talk about payments with the people, then they don’t forget about cash. I think we have still around the two thirds of transactions made in cash, and people are highly interested in cash. But of course, there’s also a, a transformation going on, not only with the younger, but of course, the younger people, especially older, but also, in general, they have the digitalization of the, of the society. So, and of course, as you say, when you’re a media or politician, of course, then you need something new and cash is everything, but not very new. It’s, has a very long tradition, history and life. So somehow, yes, you could talk about payments, people have a tendency to forget about it, but not in Austria.

Matthias Schroth(00:03:18) – To tell you the truth, there is. We are somehow different.

Jens Seidl (00:03:22) – Yes. And look, I can relate. I’m from Germany, and Germany is also still a very heavy cash user. Although again, you can see some of the behaviors changing, especially after the pandemic. People getting used to contactless payments, etc. but cash is still very, very prevalent. And, I think everybody here in Germany, most of the people anyway, always carry cash with them. And I guess it’s the same in in Austria, right.

Matthias Schroth(00:03:46) – It definitely it is. Yeah. And we have like surveys who say which say that like 66% say around cash should have the same importance in the future like it has now. And another 28, 29% say it can have less importance, but it has to be there. Only 4 or 5% say, we can we can imagine a future without cash. So there is really you can see that, the demand for it, the cash will stay, is really very, very high.

Matthias Schroth (00:04:17) – There’s just a couple, a few percent to who really can imagine or even wish to have a cashless society. Yes.

Jens Seidl (00:04:25) – Yeah. And I think that’s also reflected in the number of ATMs per capita, which I think is the the highest in the eurozone. Is that correct?

Matthias Schroth (00:04:33) – Yeah, more or less. I mean, it depends calculated. But we we are on a very, very high level. So I think there are a million people there. And we have like 8600 ATMs. of course, not 5000 points with cash back or something like this. So you really can see, there is a high demand for it. But of course, the, the access to cash is still very good in Austria.

Jens Seidl (00:04:58) – Yeah. Okay. And again I know we chatted about that previously as well. And I’ve been reading a few things. There have been some interesting experiments I guess, from different businesses like I think one of the retailers, Billa, was trying to run a cashless branch, and there were a few other examples you mentioned.

Jens Seidl (00:05:16) – Can you tell us a little bit about that and what happened there?

Matthias Schroth (00:05:19) – Yeah, there was something like this a couple of weeks ago in a very small, branch of, of pillar, which is, grocery store in Austria. The, the biggest or the second biggest one. I don’t know exactly. And he wanted obviously to test to keep it that the payment system completely automatically and no, no cash acceptance. But how can I say they had to to stop this experiment after, I think, 48 hours or maybe 3 or 4 days, because the acceptance of the people, weren’t out there, and especially also that, there was it was picked up by the media and there was a long discussion about it, and many people didn’t understand, especially in the grocery store, that it’s not cash is not accepted. And also, to tell the truth, also, from my side, it was hard to see the need for it because they said they just wanted to test how it is. But, the question is, what are you testing if you don’t want to do it in the future? And also what kind of test it is.

Matthias Schroth (00:06:23) – So this was very unclear. And so they stopped the experiment. And we are verifying with this that they stopped it. There are some venues, who are going cashless also sometimes on concerts. Mostly accepted this in soccer stadiums you have tests, but there are the different types of it. So it is starting also that the people have to go cashless if they want or not. So this will be very critical. and this is also where we have this ongoing discussion in Austria to, to reinforce the law about the cash acceptance and.

Jens Seidl (00:06:58) – Okay. And what why do you think there is such a, a love that why are people so much in love with cash? And again, I see the same here in Germany and, like that as well. I always have cash on me. I would never leave my house without it. At least an amount in my pocket. So. Well, and I think in Germany is very much a cultural thing. People have just gone up that way. And that could be used to that is do you think that’s the main reason in Austria as well?

Matthias Schroth (00:07:24) – I think it’s, it’s they’re there more than one reason.

Matthias Schroth (00:07:27) – One reason is of course. privacy has is has a very high priority in Germany and Austria and much less, for example, in Scandinavia, for example, like, like this is one of the topics, we are Germany, Austrians, we love some of our traditions. Yeah. This is some our basis of our values. I think what I, what I know from Scandinavia, from Sweden, they are more defining about progress, about technical progress and, and and to be the first one to be a first mover. so this is a totally different approach. Don’t touch one of them. Wrong or right. This is just one explanation for it. but I think what we shall never forget is also it is, the situation and, and the framework and the circumstances we are living in, I mean, in Austria and I guess the same in Germany. The access and the acceptance to cash are pretty high. If you go in Austria, there are really very rare exceptions with cash. Then you know that you can pay with cash everything.

Matthias Schroth (00:08:36) – It doesn’t matter, you don’t have to think about, is this card accepted? is there any technical problem you have? with cash you can pay everywhere. This is by far different than just think about the Netherlands. About Sweden. You lost even your belief that with the legal tender cash, you can pay everywhere because it’s not true. So this is a very important. This is why cash acceptance is so important. Because this is the main reason why we have a legal tender that, you know, this euro, this banknote, this coin is accepted and I can pay with it. In the Netherlands and I’m sure also in Sweden it has changed, you know, with a card or a mobile phone, if you have, you are more, much more likely to be able to pay. And so it has changed to a private and not to the legal tender. So this is this is a very important and of course it’s also the access to cash. I mean, if it’s very hard to get to the, to the, to the, to your cash as a customer if the cash cycle is not working anymore so the retailer doesn’t get the exchange money, does not know where he’s putting the money he got, he has to go ten kilometers, 20km, to the to the next bank branch to, to bring it there.

Matthias Schroth (00:09:53) – Then then of course, he will tend to refuse it or to, to try to, to, to push the people to pay cashless. And then it’s getting more and more this cash cycle down. And in Germany, I’m sure it’s not in Austria. Definitely it’s not. This cash cycle is alive. And if you have a small enterprise and you say the customers cash only and we have many, many shops still, but you can say turn around in 50m. In 800m you have an ATM, you can pick up your money, then you can do it. People will be so happy, but you can’t do it and people are used to it. Okay, I pick up the money and I go there. But if you say you have to. Turn right and walk three kilometres in this direction or on the left for 5km or 4km in the next direction. You cannot do it or people will be really upset. So this is altogether coming and I think this is altogether why it is good. It’s, it’s fitting perfectly to Austria, to Germany.

Matthias Schroth (00:10:50) – It’s about our tradition. But is that it is also the cash cycle, the acceptance, the access to cash. And also don’t forget the image of cash. Still not everybody like this. But cash is a preferred payment. If we are talking about status. And I will ask you, we asked, we ask you every two years, the people in Austria what to think about. And when you say, what is the best payment method you can imagine? and if you ask, we take all the, the answers from the young, from the 18 to 29 when they say yes absolutely. Which type of payment method got this answer the most. With the very young 18 to 29, it was still a cash.

Jens Seidl (00:11:37) – Is it still cash, really?

Matthias Schroth (00:11:38) – Cash. It was just 1% leading ahead of cards and it’s still. Yeah. And it’s also the theory. I’m sure in practice it’s different. The young maybe are paying even more cards than cash, but still it’s in the mind, the typical payment method.

Matthias Schroth (00:11:56) – If you think about payment, what is coming into your mind first but is still of course logical to pay it is cash. And this is an image of cash. It is the image of cash that is used. Yeah, of course cash, app cash. And I’m sure in other countries you will find you will be feel old fashioned. You maybe feel unwanted from the retailer as the as I told you before, when you because you’re bringing just such problems to bring it away or to get the exchange or something like this in Austria it’s not like this. So the image is high. It is a payment method. You don’t have to feel old fashioned with it, young using it older using it. And this is very important. Yeah. And of course very interesting topic. Yeah. So I think this this this is it’s this is why I said you cannot just give one answer to it.

Jens Seidl (00:12:43) – Yes. No. And I’m really surprised that especially the young people value cash as much because you’d think they’re so technology focused on their phones all day that it would be all around technology.

Jens Seidl (00:12:54) – So it’s encouraging actually to see that also some of the old values still prevail. It’s very good.

Matthias Schroth (00:12:59) – It definitely because it’s one 1% was the card down. But the smartphone I’m sure they’re using every day for many hours was by far behind the cards. I don’t know how much it was if the in the very in the very young area from 18 to 29, but it was by far behind card and therefore also behind cash. It will go up. It’s a it will change of course. Smartphone is coming up every year very with, with very high speed and but still in their mind cash is queen as our saying.

Jens Seidl (00:13:36) – Okay. Well, maybe let’s get back to the infrastructure and cash cycle question in a minute as well. But before we do that, you mentioned how cash is legal tender cash is popular and it has a good reputation in Austria. And yet I was reading a while ago there was an initiative, from the public to want to include the right to use cash in the constitution in Austria.

Jens Seidl (00:14:01) – Can you tell us a little bit about that initiative and what happened to that?

Matthias Schroth (00:14:05) – Yeah, this was last year, our chancellor, Karl Nehammer, made an initiative, that the right for cash, there was nothing declared more what is behind this, it should be come into the Constitution. And this is also, of course, a sign, that it is, on the one hand, very popular in Austria. But there are also a lot of fears. What will be the future of cash? Yeah. If it will be abolished, if it will not be possible, to pay anymore or everywhere to pay anymore, that it will be pushed back, for certain, for certain reasons. So our official position as a central bank is there. We highly appreciate if the cash acceptance will be tightened, will be made stronger than it already is in Austria because, you can find in some regulations in our laws that the consumer has the right to pay in cash somehow. It is not defined very clearly, but as a law,

Matthias Schroth (00:15:05) – You can see there are certain, there are certain regulations, and certain paragraphs who somehow, stating this. But there is a if it’s not accepted, there is no concrete law, what is following next step. It selects imperfect, as the lawyers say, from the from Latin. It’s an imperfect law somehow, because when it was done 20 years ago, 30 years ago, it was very clear that the retailer and restaurant will take cash. What else you can do? What else you can accept? So this is, this. So this, which we think, because of the last ten, 15 years, there have to be an improvement into this law. And also about the cash acceptance, even if we have a very good infrastructure in Austria. This is very clear. We think that there should be a central idea. If a bank branch, an ATM is closed, there should be somehow a rule or an idea or a metric. Is there another ATM around, or do we need this ATM that people will not stay cashless, will not stay, within a certain amount of kilometers? Let me say, in the rural areas, like five kilometers to come and to pick up their cash.

Matthias Schroth (00:16:31) – This is very important in our opinion. And even if we know that we are still on a very high level, we can see in other countries that the decrease can be very fast. And if there is no system behind, also the Central Bank of Austria has no chance but to walk and to be informed. And we think this is an important question in Austria there should be more than just discussion and warning. There should be an idea behind the system, behind which is approved between the commercial banks and the Central Bank of Austria. This is our wish. Other countries, they have already, this banking access to cash act. We don’t think this is necessary. We think we can do it on an agreement basis, but this is an ongoing discussion. You can imagine that’s not always easy at this time, but this is our idea and this is our approach to this topic. And, and about the cash in the Constitution, if we, we always say it’s important, the content of the law, if you if, if it’s, strengthening the cash acceptance and the cash, and the cash, the access to cash, then, of course we will not refuse it if not in the Constitution.

Matthias Schroth (00:17:53) – But I always say, if we just get an article in the Constitution that cash is cool and it will help nobody, and obviously also not me, because I know cash is cool.

Jens Seidl (00:18:04) – Yes. Okay. Well, you’re mentioning that there are discussions now on going. I think that’s very much driven by the central bank as well. Right. I believe you run like a roundtable, with the industry now. Where do you think are the main areas that that really require attention? if not even now, but thinking about the future, because we’ve seen, as you said, similar developments in, in different countries. But then again, very different developments in other countries. So where do you think Austria is probably going to feel the pinch points first?

Matthias Schroth (00:18:40) – I think it’s this three points. I think it’s really the access to acceptance and the image of cash that they have a good feeling that you pay, that you know, paying with card, paying with smartphone is absolutely fine. But paying with cash is also a very smart method of payment.

Matthias Schroth (00:18:56) – It has some disadvantages and it has some advantages, and this is very important. And of course we have to supervise the situation because the digitalization will go on in our society. So it will get more difficult sometimes to pay cash. And of course, I think in the future we have also to be aware that retailers which are maybe going to be more digital and with less employees, that the payment method will be not only possible, it will be easily possible. You know what I mean? It can somehow, in some, in some shops are already found out that there were only automatic cash machines take without taking cash, and you had to go to the information to pay cash there. Yeah, it was not it was not, you could not even see there. So they had to actively ask them where can I pay cash. Yeah. So this is I just experienced one time. But this can be a trend. We have to also monitor somehow very carefully. But the thing the main three points, access, acceptance to cash and the image.

Matthias Schroth (00:20:04) – I think with this we are we have enough to do for the next ten years.

Jens Seidl (00:20:10) – And do you think there’s enough innovation, technology innovation as well in the cash space.? And actually a colleague of ours, in in France, he coined the phrase of a cash tech similar to fintech. Meaning is there enough, technology innovation that helps us making it easier to use cash and not only thinking about the end user, but also for the, the retailers, things like smart safes and, even now the, the virtual ATMs, things like that. Do you think there’s enough happening now or do we need more innovation in that space?

Matthias Schroth (00:20:48) – I think there can be never enough, enough, innovation, first of all, today. So this is very sure. You know that, the central Bank of Austria has some subsidiaries, which means we are very market oriented. For example, our GSA, the subsidiary of us, and they are offering this, private vaults, cash machines, also for the smaller retailers so that they don’t have to bring everyday afterwards, their cash to bank branches in rural areas.

Matthias Schroth (00:21:23) – It’s maybe more far away. So but on the other hand, in these machines, it’s insured and it’s maybe a recycler even there. So, so it depends how much, income, how much money you get every day. So we are we are, we are on this. And what I also have seen that was all the time thinking about is having also, even if there’s a cash task to have cash machines there, what means that, I saw in Italy last, last week, two weeks ago when I’ve been there, in an, gelateria and I saw, how does you say this, I don’t know.

Jens Seidl (00:22:00) – Yeah, ice cream parlor.

Matthias Schroth (00:22:00) – Oh, yes. So, so that, that the, the cash is putting it into, these machines and you get directly exchanged there, which makes it much easier. And if you throw coins in there, you take just the hand off full, and if it’s too much, you get it back or you see immediately how much is missing. So I think there you could make it somehow.

Matthias Schroth (00:22:23) – We don’t have to forget there is somehow, employee fraud. Yeah. You have a robbery topic. When it’s in the vault, it’s much safer then, it’s much quicker then. Because if you search the coins in the sense, if you just throw it in, you get it easier. And also that the cash can go to the next customer already when you give him the, the bill and get back the exchange. So then he’s so I think and it makes it also more modern. It’s not so old fashioned anymore. So I guess this could be a topic and in Austria there’s no relation to see. But I see it’s in other countries that there is that there is innovation. And also maybe the access to cash will in a way. Yeah. But then of course the banks, also our banks are maybe trying to, to innovate the cash cycle. I don’t know. It depends. In ten years or 15 years, maybe, we, we don’t go to the, to the grocery store for food.

Matthias Schroth (00:23:26) – Maybe we will all just get it delivered. And maybe if we get it delivered, we will order also €200 extra and then get it from this side. So this this is maybe the future topic, but it will come. There are also ideas about it. but I’m not a fan too much about this, is this virtual ATMs. Because we don’t have to forget the cash cycle to keep it alive is in our, in our opinion, very clear the job of the bank and they also have to do it. But also, of course, they can do innovation, which bring the cash cycle more efficient and, and move forward.

Jens Seidl (00:24:09) – Okay. Okay. Thank you for that. Look at your mentioning, the future maybe, before we close for today, what what’s your view? How what’s the payment landscape going to look like in, I don’t know, say, ten, 20 years? What, what do you expect? is it going to be different and what’s the world going to look like then?

Matthias Schroth (00:24:32) – Yeah, of course, this is very hard to answer, but I try to do my best.

Matthias Schroth (00:24:37) – The first one is, of course, the transaction numbers from cash will go down, I guess. First of all, we get in a more and more digital world. The younger generation is very digital. So this means, of course, cash, even if the image of cash is still good in Austria. But the reality is somehow different. It’s just like, in a, in a model world and in my experience, I’m very sporty. Five times a week, six times a week, but in real time it’s maybe, two times a month, you know what I mean?

Matthias Schroth (00:25:12) – This is also with the young people, they think cash is cool, maybe or not. But the usage, of course, is much lower than from the older generation. We have to face this. And of course, the more technologies coming, the more possibilities and options for payments, of course, for each one of it, the, the size of the number will go down.

Matthias Schroth (00:25:31) – And this is all the same with cash. But what we can learn from others, we can see we still have radio, and now we have television. We have the internet. I mean, now we have television for 70 years, and the internet and streaming and so many other opportunities. But still we have the radio there on a very high level in Austria even there. So, it’s the same with the bike and the bike is, is, is even maybe more, an option for transport and not only for, for sporting, than it has ever been in the cities. It is somehow in German, in Austria and many other countries. There’s even a push back from the car, which is the more modern technology than the bike. But there are very good reasons for biking. Yeah, not only change, but one of it. It is especially for the very young. They like they like to do it. So what we see is only because there is a new form of technology which is more modern, it does not mean that they will push it back.

Matthias Schroth (00:26:38) – On the other hand, you are not you cannot, cannot expect that in Austria again, 65% in ten years will pay with the cash. Also with the radio they had to change. Nobody is leading the main show of radio in the evening, but it’s now the morning. The morning shows are now the more important shows there. So I think we have to face that it will go down. But it’s our duty that the people who want, to pay cash can do it and can do it with the, with the opinion and, and, and the knowledge that they have a very good and smart solution in their end. And what is the future? I always answer also with this when people say, yeah, but in 50 years there will be this the modern payment card payment will be, of course, much more. And I always say, let’s face it, where will be the card payment in 50 years? We have to be very open. Technology is running very fast in Austria, have this technology transfer also with the identity cards and the driver’s license, they are all going onto the smartphone.

Matthias Schroth (00:27:45) – Hundred thousands of people also already have it on the smartphones and they don’t need it in a card form. The wallets, I think all of us would explode if we put all the cards we have from all shops and so on into it. So I’m not very sure that the card will be the future in the payments. The digital payments will be. But in 50 years card payments or even smartphone payments, I always say in hundred years there will be the card payment. And beside this, the smartphone payment will be in the museum and the cash will be maybe there, but maybe not.

Jens Seidl (00:28:23) – Well, I just hope we’re not going to walk around with these augmented reality glasses that have just been launched by Apple as well. That’s, that’s not a nice image. Well, who knows. You know. Absolutely. and actually, one more thing, if I may, on the bicycle analogy, I think that’s also a really good one, because there’s been a renaissance now with bikes, not only because it’s eco friendly and sometimes really quicker to get around town and bike then than in the car, but also because of innovation, because you get so many electrically electric bikes now, or at least enhanced pedal legs, stuff like that.

Jens Seidl (00:29:00) – Then again, it’s easier to use the bike, it’s more convenient. And maybe that is again something we need to think about in the cash world as well. What else can we do to make it more convenient, make it more efficient? and then yeah, it’s definitely there to stay. I’ve got no doubts.

Matthias Schroth (00:29:16) – Yeah. And also not to give up the hope sometime. I know people, they, they think, everybody knows what will happen in 30, 40 years. We are somehow one generation, Jens. I mean, we know I know that from Austria better than from Germany. But 40, 50 years ago, there were some plans to build freeways in the middle of the center, six lane break down houses because mobility with cars. This was the future. And everybody else I mean, they wanted to, to do a freeway over the nice little cities lake, this wonderful in the southeast of, of, of, Vienna. So this was 40 years ago. Very clear. This is the future will do it.

Matthias Schroth(00:30:00) – And thankfully, we didn’t do it. Thankfully, we didn’t do it because the future is much different. If our normal streets on the roads in Austria we have in Vienna, here they were mostly cut down from three lanes to two lanes or one lane, because this brings just more traffic. And we need also the space for pedestrian walks and for bikers, which is maybe the future in the sense, maybe. I think maybe we can drop, which is the future in the inner center. So what I want to say is 40, 50 years ago, if you would say, no, don’t build this highway, you have two minute bike lanes. I think they would have laughed about us. Yeah. They don’t not nobody will laugh. So yeah, the digitalization will come, but it will come differently as we believe, I guess.

Jens Seidl (00:30:46) – You hear? Well, no better way of wrapping up this this podcast. Matt, thanks very much for being on our show. Really appreciate that.

Matthias Schroth (00:30:49) – Thank you for the opportunity.

Jens Seidl (00:30:57) – No thank you. And, hopefully see you soon, wherever, maybe one of our events, maybe somewhere else. I’m really looking forward to to chat again and, catch up soon. Thanks so much.

Matthias Schroth (00:31:09) – Thank you. Thank you very much.

Jens Seidl (00:31:11) – Take care now. Bye bye.

Podcast Outro (00:31:13) – Thank you for listening to The P.I.T. Exchange, a podcast by Currency Research. Check out our upcoming events and publications at and join us for our next episode to hear what’s trending in payments, innovation and technology.

Welcome to the latest episode of our podcast, where we delve into the fascinating world of payments innovation and technology. As this episode’s host, Jens Seidl, had the pleasure of engaging in a thought-provoking conversation with Matthias Schroth, Director for Cash Management Equity Interests and Internal Service at the Austrian National Bank. The discussion centered on the enduring relevance of cash in Austria, its cultural significance, and the future of payments in an increasingly digital landscape.

The Cultural Fabric of Cash in Austria
In Austria, cash is more than just a medium of exchange; it’s a cultural mainstay deeply woven into the fabric of everyday life. Despite the global trend towards digital payments, Austrians have a strong affinity for cash, with approximately two-thirds of transactions still conducted using physical currency. This preference is not just a matter of habit but a conscious choice driven by values such as privacy and tradition.

The Role of Cash in Modern Payments
Contrary to the common narrative that cash is becoming obsolete, it remains a cornerstone of the payment system in Austria. As Matthias Schroth highlighted, cash is not the largest user in the Eurozone, with Slovenia and Malta on similar levels, but its presence is undeniable. The Austrian National Bank plays a pivotal role in ensuring the accessibility and acceptance of cash, with around 8,600 ATMs serving the population, one of the highest per capita in the Eurozone.

Resistance to a Cashless Society
An intriguing experiment by a grocery store chain in Austria tested the waters of a cashless payment system. The trial was short-lived, lasting only a few days, as customer pushback was immediate and strong. This incident underscores the public’s demand for cash and the challenges businesses may face when attempting to shift away from it.

The Constitutional Right to Cash
The Austrian chancellor’s initiative to enshrine the right to use cash in the constitution reflects the public’s sentiment towards maintaining cash as a payment option. The central bank supports this move, advocating for clear regulations that ensure consumers can continue to use cash without hindrance.

Innovation in the Cash Cycle
Innovation isn’t just for digital payments; the cash cycle is also evolving. The Austrian National Bank is at the forefront of this transformation, implementing technologies that enhance the efficiency and safety of cash transactions. From private vaults to coin exchange machines, these innovations are making cash handling more modern and secure.

The Future of Payments: A Balanced Perspective
Looking ahead, the payment landscape is set to evolve, with digital transactions becoming more prevalent. However, this doesn’t spell the end for cash. Drawing parallels to the persistence of radio in the age of television and the internet, Matthias Schroth suggests that cash, like the bicycle, may experience a renaissance, adapting to changing times while retaining its value.

Embracing Change Without Losing Sight of Tradition
As we navigate the digital revolution, it’s crucial to remain open-minded about the future of payments. While digital and card payments will undoubtedly grow, the form they will take in the next few decades is uncertain. What remains clear is the need to preserve consumer choice, ensuring that those who prefer cash have access to a payment method that is both reliable and efficient.

Come and join us this November!

As we wrap up this insightful journey, we invite you to continue the dialogue and participate in upcoming event, EMEA Cash Cycle Seminar (ICCOS). The EMEA Cash Cycle Seminar (ICCOS) is the leading conference focusing on cash management, distribution and circulation as well as production and how this can influence circulation.


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