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Card payment desired: Merchants may refuse to accept cash | message


Dealers enjoy freedom of contract

Due to the still present corona pandemic, most restaurants and retailers would like contactless payment via card or smartphone in order to contain the spread of the virus as best as possible.

The population should continue to maintain a certain distance and accordingly avoid physical contact that could result from paying with cash. This is a policy, but does it also mean that cash can be refused?

There is a simple answer to this, as Ulrich Binnebößel from the German Trade Association explains in an interview with n-tv: “In principle, the principle of freedom of contract applies.”

This means that the dealer can refuse to accept cash.

Businesses need to give clear indications

In order for the dealer to be able to make use of the freedom of contract, he must make this clear in advance. For example, certain types of payment, i.e. cash or card payment, can be excluded by a sign at the cashier or at the shop entrance.

The selection of which banknotes are accepted and which are not can also be freely determined, provided this is made clear to the consumer. Binnebößel explains, “You see this quite often at petrol stations where large banknotes are not accepted.”

For the consumer, this means that they have to bow to the preferences of the shops and should accordingly look out for any information in advance in order to avoid surprises at the checkout.

This is precisely why there is a real trend towards cashless payments in Germany, which has been accelerated by the corona pandemic. As a study by the Association of Banks shows, over 60 percent of Germans now pay by mobile phone or by card, with 26 percent of the test subjects having adapted this behavior due to the virus ‘.

Nonetheless, it appears that a large proportion of Germans still depend on cash, with 37 percent of those surveyed saying that they had not adjusted their payment behavior during the pandemic. The over 60-year-olds make up the majority here.

Whereas the younger generations – those up to 50 years of age – preferred to make contactless payments before the pandemic and the 50 to 59 year olds adapted their behavior during the crisis accordingly.

Henry Ely / editors

Image Sources: Yulia Grigoryeva /

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