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Current results Swiss Payment Monitor 1/2023

Media release of February 16, 2023

Cash is once again the most commonly used means of payment

The downward trend in cash use has stopped. Around every third payment in Switzerland is made in cash. However, most of the money is spent on credit cards. This is shown by the current Swiss Payment Monitor from the ZHAW and the University of St. Gallen.

Even after the corona pandemic, cash still plays an important role in the payment behavior of the Swiss population. 29 percent of daily payments are made in cash – more than with a debit card (27 percent) or credit card (18 percent). A further 18 percent of payments are made using a mobile device such as a mobile phone, tablet or smartwatch. This includes payments directly via the bank account, for example with TWINT, but also payments with a credit or debit card stored in an app, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. This is shown by the sixth Swiss Payment Monitor conducted by the ZHAW School of Management and Law and the Center for Financial Services Innovation at the University of St. Gallen. At the end of 2022, around 1,450 people representing the whole of Switzerland were interviewed for the study.

In terms of sales, credit cards dominate

In Switzerland, most money is spent with credit cards: 27 percent of sales are made with this means of payment. It even accounts for 34 percent of sales if mobile payments by credit card are also counted. These have increased significantly in terms of number and turnover in 2022. Payments with TWINT, which are usually processed directly via the bank account, still account for around half of mobile payments. However, payments via Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay have increased in relative terms. 28 percent of sales are settled via a debit card, while cash follows in third place with a 17 percent share of sales. "Cash is mainly used for small amounts of up to 20 francs, which is why it is used frequently, but plays a less important role in terms of sales," explains Tobias Trütsch, payment economist at the University of St. Gallen.

Large amounts of cash at home

Cash use differs greatly according to demographic characteristics. People with a lower level of education and lower income use cash more often as a means of payment. While the under-30s use cash for 28 percent of payments, this proportion drops to 24 percent for those aged 30 to 44, only to rise to 38 percent with age up to the over-60s. Around every sixth person in Switzerland now does without cash altogether. This behavior is less common with increasing age, higher income and in German-speaking Switzerland. According to the current survey, the average amount of cash that a person carries in their wallet or keeps at home has increased noticeably for the first time in three years. "One possible explanation for this behavior lies in the energy crisis feared for this winter, for which some of the population may want to arm themselves with higher cash reserves," suspects ZHAW payment expert Marcel Stadelmann.

Neobanks increasingly as the main bank connection

More than every third person surveyed has used new online solutions from a neobank at least once. "The typical neobank user is male, younger than 45 years old, well educated and has a household income of more than 9,000 francs," says Marcel Stadelmann. In addition, the proportion of neobank users in French-speaking Switzerland is 43 percent higher than in the rest of Switzerland. Revolut is used most frequently (15 percent), followed by the Swiss providers Neon (14 percent) and Credit Suisse CSX (11 percent). One and a half years after its launch, Yuh already has a usage share of 10 percent. 36 percent of users of neobanks use their offer as their primary means of payment or as their main bank account, which is 7 percentage points more than half a year ago.

Credit cards as a billing product are benefiting from the mobile boom

As part of the regular examination of the payment behavior of the Swiss population, there are only minor changes compared to the last survey in November 2021. The debit card remains the most commonly used means of payment, followed by cash, which is still used for every third payment in face-to-face business. Mobile payment continues to grow in popularity. In distance business, every second payment is now processed using a mobile device, which also benefits the credit card as a billing product: every third payment from a distance is billed using a credit card.

The full report is available for download below. You can find all past issues of the Swiss Payment Monitor in the Archive

Swiss Payment Monitor 2023 - How does Switzerland pay?, Edition 1/2023 - Survey November 2022

Keywords: payment history, debit card, credit card, cash, mobile payment, neobanks, buy-now-pay-later

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