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Cashless vs. cash: Stadtfest wants to do without cash – and triggers a wave of outrage

published7. May 2022, 18:22

The city festival is to take place cashless this year. This supposedly harmless decision has now unexpectedly led to a fundamental debate in Lucerne: Is cash still needed or is it a must?

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100,000 celebrated at the last Lucerne festival. Back then you could still pay with cash. The successor, the Lucerne City Festival, no longer wants that.

Lucerne Festival

You can only pay with debit cards or via the mobile payment service Twint.

You can only pay with debit cards or via the mobile payment service Twint.

TWINT

On the reporting of the regional journal “Zentralplus” there was a wave of indignation.

20min/Thomas Hagnauer

  • The Lucerne City Festival, which is taking place for the first time, triggered a wave of outrage and a fundamental debate about cash with its announcement that it would be using a cashless payment system.

  • Critics accuse the organizers of excluding a large group of people from the festival.

  • Despite the numerous advantages that a cashless system brings, there are still many people who only pay with cash.

  • The festival organizers have now responded to the allegations.

If you want to eat a sausage at this year’s city festival in Lucerne, you must have a Twint account or a bank card with you. Cash will not be accepted this time. The central Swiss regional journal “Zentralplus” reported on this supposedly harmless decision, unexpectedly triggering a wave of outrage. “Insolence” and “shame” are scolded under the article. Apparently, a chain message was already circulating on Telegram, with a call to complain to those responsible. A fundamental debate has long since arisen from this:

plastic or bills? code or coin?

Critics fear that older people in particular will be excluded. The “Luzern60plus” association, which is committed to the concerns of older people, points out that many – and not only older people – are still on the road analogously and only pay with cash. A city festival in particular must be for all Lucerne residents and not exclude one group, the president of the association complained to the newspaper.

Although cashless payment is no longer unusual everywhere, including at major events, recent surveys agree with the critics: According to the latest figures from the “Swiss Payment Monitor”, a project of the ZHAW and HSG universities, 32 percent of all transactions are paid for with debit cards , but cash follows with 30 percent. In third place is the “non-mobile use of credit cards” with 16 percent. “Following the sudden changes at the beginning of the pandemic, the payment behavior of the Swiss population stabilized over the course of 2021,” explains one of the authors of the study, Marcel Stadelmann. “Only the popularity of mobile payment continues to increase significantly.”

Cash remains very popular among older generations

In the most recent means of payment survey by the Swiss National Bank, the socio-demographic characteristics also clearly show how 15 to 34-year-olds in particular are switching to digital payments. From the age of 55, however, even the debit card has a difficult time. And: the lower the monthly income, the higher the cash portion.

There are strong differences in the use of means of payment, particularly in the age regions, as can be seen from the data from the latest SNB survey.

There are strong differences in the use of means of payment, particularly in the age regions, as can be seen from the data from the latest SNB survey.

Swiss National Bank (SNB)

“We chose this payment method for reasons of security, hygiene and the digital development of the time,” defended Nicole Reisinger from the Stadtfest-OK. Security is a particularly troubling issue at many events. If a cash register disappears, a lot of money can be lost. This happens less digitally. Another aspect is that, as studies show, people simply consume more if they don’t see the money changing hands.

In the meantime, however, the festival organizers seem to be bowing to the pressure: “The OK has the discussion and the feedback for cashless payment and is in the process of examining the possibilities of the payment system, »said the city festival OK. The organizing committee will inform about the results on Wednesday. The successor to the Lucerne Festival is scheduled to take place on June 24th and 25th.

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