95% Of Europeans Reject EU Efforts To "De-Cash" Their Lives

Authored by Don Quijones via WolfStreet.com,

But the IMF has suggestions on how to win the War on Cash...

In January 2017 the European Commission announced it was exploring the option of imposing upper limits on cash payments, with a view to implementing cross-regional measures as soon as 2018. To give the proposal a veneer of respectability and accountability the Commission launched a public consultation on the issue. Now, the answers are in, but they are not what the Commission was expecting.

A staggering 95% of the respondents said they were opposed to a cash ceiling at EU level. Even more emphatic was the answer to the following question:

“How would the introduction of restrictions on payments in cash at EU level benefit you, or your business or your organisation (multiple replies are possible)?”

In the curious absence of an explicit “not at all” option, 99.18% chose to respond with “no answer.” In other words, less than 1% of the more than 30,000 people consulted could think of a single benefit of the EU unleashing cross-regional cash limits.

Granted, 37% of respondents were from Germany and 19% from Austria (56% in total), two countries that have a die-hard love for physical lucre. Even among millennials in Germany, two-thirds say they prefer paying in cash to electronic means, a much higher level than in almost any other advanced economy with the exception of Japan. Another 35% of the survey respondents were from France, a country that is not quite so enamored with cash and whose government has already imposed a maximum cash limit of €1,000.

By its very nature the survey almost certainly attracted a disproportionate number of arch-defenders of physical cash. As such, the responses it elicited are unlikely to be a perfect representation of how all Europeans would feel about the EU’s plans to introduce maximum cash limits. Nonetheless, the sheer strength of opposition should (but probably won’t) give the apparatchiks in Brussels pause for thought.

Respondents cited a number of objections to EU-wide cash restrictions, chief among them the convenience of using cash and the limited impact the measure would probably have on achieving its “stated” objectives of curbing terrorism, tax evasion, and money laundering. Of course, there are many other reasons to worry about living in a cashless (or “less cash”) society that were not offered as an option in the survey, including the vastly increased power it would give to political and monetary authorities as well as the near-impossibility of ever escaping from the clutches of the banking system or central banks’ monetary experiments.

The biggest cited concern for respondents was the threat the cash restrictions would pose to privacy and personal anonymity. A total of 87% of respondents viewed paying with cash as an essential personal freedom. The European Commission would beg to differ. In the small print accompanying the draft legislation it launched in January, it pointed out that privacy and anonymity do not constitute “fundamental” human rights.

Be that as it may, many Europeans still clearly have a soft spot for physical money. If the EU authorities push too hard, too fast in their war on cash, they could provoke a popular backlash. In Germany, trust in Europe’s financial institutions is already at a historic low, with only one in three Germans saying they have confidence in the ECB. The longer QE lasts, the more the number shrinks.

Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann has already warned that it would be “disastrous” if people started to believe cash would be abolished — an oblique reference to the risk of negative interest rates and the escalating war on cash triggering a run on cash. The IMF has also waded into the debate with a working paper full of sage advice for governments keen on “de-cashing” – as the IMF calls this procedure – their economies against the will of their citizenry (emphasis added):

The private-sector-led de-cashing seems preferable to the public-sector-led decashing. The former seems almost entirely benign (e.g., more use of mobile phones to pay for coffee), but still needs policy adaptation. The latter seems more questionable, and people may have valid objections to it. De-cashing of either kind leaves both individuals and states more vulnerable to disruptions, ranging from power outages to hacks to cyberwarfare. In any case, the tempting attempts to impose de-cashing by a decree should be avoided, given the popular personal attachment to cash.


A targeted outreach program is needed to alleviate suspicions related to de-cashing; in particular, that by de-cashing the authorities are trying to control all aspects of peoples’ lives, including their use of money, or push personal savings into banks.

It basically involves making it easier and cheaper for people to use electronic payment methods while subtly turning the screw on those who would prefer to continue using cash (for perfectly valid reasons, as the IMF itself admits), presumably by making it more difficult and expensive to do so. In many places it’s already happening.

But a surprisingly large number of people still appear to have a strong sense of attachment to physical money, particularly in Europe’s most important economy, Germany. And if the survey is any indication, they have little interest in changing those habits.


Ghordius StackShinyStuff Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:22 Permalink

your comment is exactly what I was looking forwhy, you ask? because... it's a classic of what I find increasingly worrysomeyou see, those "immortal words" were given us by Russian intelligenceas evidence of US officials actively pursuing a policy of "keep the EU out of our Ukraine relationship", i.e. make Ukraine a US-only affairand... a lot of people might even think you are being... subtle. and meaning the opposite of what your words would mean, taken literallyexcept that all this subtleness... can't even exist, in things that have become so "religious" like "fuck the EU", or in an environment where subtleness and equanimity and balanced views don't matter, and everything is literalback to the article"By its very nature the survey almost certainly attracted a disproportionate number of arch-defenders of physical cash. As such, the responses it elicited are unlikely to be a perfect representation of how all Europeans would feel about the EU’s plans to introduce maximum cash limits. Nonetheless, the sheer strength of opposition should (but probably won’t) give the apparatchiks in Brussels pause for thought. "first: national limits on cash do already exist. the two harshest ones are those of France and Italysecond: the Commission commissioning a poll and going on publishing those "bad results"? nobody here... suspicious?third: what for, those EU limits if countries already set them? and... is all that in any way in the region of things given to the EU to do? (hint: it is not)look, I'll make it simple: there is simply no suspicion left the ZH commentator's brain cells whenever "something EU" shows up. if you were more suspicious, you'd realize that it's a way for the Commission to highlight the dissent that EU Citizens have with those cash limitseven shorter: the EU C is "doing politics", with this, in national affairs outside it's purview

In reply to by StackShinyStuff

thisandthat Ghordius Tue, 07/18/2017 - 10:50 Permalink

Do you parroting eurofags ever even read the "(god?)father" of EU, Jean Monnet? Because it was the subject of an article here and he couldn't have been more clear and explicit about the goals of the EU and the means of achieving them.And no, Nuland's leaks likely wasn't by the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient "Evil Russians(tm)", but probably by resistance SBU operatives, or do you think everyone in the Ukraine is pro coup? And not to prove "EU out of Europe" policy, but the foreign hand in that coup.Also, it was not the US trying to "keep the EU out of our Ukraine relationship", either, but in fact the opposite: the US becoming frustated with the EU for dragging its feet on their agenda for Ukraine, and the US deciding to go solo with it. Yeah, much "subtleness", indeed...But since you pretend to be an (the?) "authority" in all Europeon affairs, here, I can only assume you fully knew this already, though "muh europe" fanatism forces you to play the "eurovictim" card.So, back to the article, alright:EU is a pet project of masonry, and masonry's goals and means of achieving them are well documented throughout history, including (brazenly) by Monnet himself, above. And if you don't believe that, just look at the way they commemorated the US' 250th anniversary and how they so publically gloated about that, in that EU fakenews toilet, which is Euro"News".Given that, no wonder there's "simply no suspicion left in the ZH commentator's brain cells whenever "something EU" shows up" (proof, btw, that they do have brain cells and do put them to good use...); only a braindead idiot (or a shill...) would.So, in shortest: the EU is "doing politics"... by *pretending* to care about public opinion (which, surprise, surprise, is exactly what Monnet advocated to steamroll his dystopia, despite said PO).

In reply to by Ghordius

Sudden Debt Vegetius Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:27 Permalink

Don't think so. It will far outlast America.The elites control Europe in a way better way then America and there's multiple things that are in Europe's advantage also:1. Way higher skilled people then in America2. Stronger social structure3. A nortern part where there's a lot of industry with advanced products, technology. Have you ever been in Europe? 

In reply to by Vegetius

HenryKissinger… (not verified) Sudden Debt Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:51 Permalink

1. Way higher skilled people then in America2. Stronger social structure3. A nortern part where there's a lot of industry with advanced products, technology.somehow you failed to mention the millions of rapefugees in your equation?Have you ever been in Europe? YES

In reply to by Sudden Debt

Ghordius Sudden Debt Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:28 Permalink

Sudden Debt, don't you realize that you are talking here about something you do experience, while...... for most here it's something religious, about something they can't experience directly?go easy. just say yes. like: "Yes, the EU is breaking down. Yes, Brexit is breaking the EU, not the UKYes, you don't know what you are talking about, but you are right, the EU is doomed. Of course, what else?Yes, the EU is something like the US. Same military expenses, for starters, and same centralized megastate.Yes, we gave a drunkard the codes for 7'000 nuclear ICBMs. Yes, we are mad for just staying in the EU."it's echo chamber behaviour, of course, but this is the direction that this blog's comment section has takenforward to the same opinion about everything, and the guillotine to those pesky facts! /s

In reply to by Sudden Debt

BuyAndSell Mon, 07/17/2017 - 03:48 Permalink

What is missing in all of the discussion of ditching cash, is the cost to the consumer.  Card fees paid directly and indirectly are paid by the consumer.  Electronic transaction fees, even if paid in by the retailor, these costs are passed on to the consumer in the cost of goods and services pricing.  So the consumer pays.If cash is phased out then a strong argument will be made to have a government run payments network.  While companies like Visa and MasterCard are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of governments decreeing the use of electronic payments networks.  Little do they realize, in supporting Government cashless efforts, thay are sowing the seeds of their own demise. 

kellys_eye BuyAndSell Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:41 Permalink

Ever done a deal by barter?I have - and seem to be doing so increasingly these days.  Not enough to make it a significant part of my life but it shows potential.  If even half my 'expenses' were covered by barter that''s 50% less funds/transactions going via the banksters.How 'little' barter would it take to destroy a digital economy? 

In reply to by BuyAndSell

PT kellys_eye Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:11 Permalink

That is why the price of land is so high.  You still need fiat to pay interest.  You still need fiat to pay off the mortgage.  The time will come where we will have no choice but to be nomads.  Or to be precise, the time will come where we will have no choice but to refuse to pay for land, be it mortgage or rent.

In reply to by kellys_eye

Arnold Mon, 07/17/2017 - 03:48 Permalink

Cash is still the barter medium for unsophisticated commerce.

How big a part of the overall economy, I don't know.
But it is the bedrock.
We have to look closer at the chaos it caused in India.

shutterbug Arnold Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:16 Permalink

The chaos in India was caused by the politicians inside government.They abused their power to change the currency to another currency, and in such a way that only the rich and influenced or criminals could get the new currency in needed quantities.Everybody else got in trouble, from small to extremely/deadly, all because of the actions of politicians... sounds familiar???PS the using of "unsophisticated commerce" says a lot about your mindset...

In reply to by Arnold

shutterbug Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:06 Permalink

EU, IMF and all other organizations can go to HELL.People will never stop using real money.... unless we have some digital currency which can be exchanged without any tracking or internet connection needed to even make a transaction.  So .. Bitcoin and other current digitals do not meet the criteria... /remember that!When politicians stop working for the people... the system is BROKEN en needs a "hard reset" by the people.

Juliette Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:12 Permalink

I am living in Europe and I always pay in cash whenever I can (exceptions only for online shopping and when I need to use some robot gas station in the middle of the night, where cash is not accepted - but I try to avoid that as much as I can). I even pay my monthly rent in cash.

deselby Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:12 Permalink

As with all Brave New World shit, Sweden is in the vanguard of this.  When I was there, it was agonizing waiting in line while the card sheeple managed their card swipes and password entries.  Swedes will accept any authoritarian shit.Some places don't take cash at all.  I ordered a coffee at a shop in Stockholm train station, offered my krone to pay.  "Oh, we only take cards.""I guess we won't be doing business then."Fortunately a nearby Starbucks took cash.

Glyndwr will return Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:48 Permalink

Monopoly power is illegal in both the UK and EU.These companies have monopoly power in the UK marketAmazonGoogleMastercardVisaApart from the fact that these companies are American, and also routinely pay single digit tax %'s, the last company, Visa, is now engaged in an initiative to withdraw the key economic and private freedoms that cash allows. This is a foreign company trying to close down financial privacy in the UK.As such they are an enemy of the people.Behave accordingly and change your card and use cash more. Write to your MP.

css1971 Mon, 07/17/2017 - 04:59 Permalink

Always pay cash. When you pay credit, every transaction is

  • Centralised.
  • Authorized.
  • Logged/monitored.

Additionally. When a unit of bank credit pays off a unit of bank debt. Both are anihilated. Both sum to zero. So when you pay debts with credit, you're reducing the money supply. When you pay with cash, the physical note remains, available for re-use. The debt is reduced and the supply of money within the economy remains the same.Cash reduces government and banker power. It's fundamentally peer to peer. It's crucially important to always always pay cash.

PT css1971 Mon, 07/17/2017 - 07:44 Permalink

I swear TPTB are actively using the contents of my bank account to decide whether or not I get my next job.  ("Naaaaah, his balance is still too high.  Let's wait.")Needless to say there are plenty of other possible explanations (including reasons that expose my own short-comings) but if they can, then what would stop them?

In reply to by css1971

sinbad2 Mon, 07/17/2017 - 05:12 Permalink

They want to abolish cash, because paper money is an IOU, and they can't honour the outstanding IOU's.The push to ban cash convinces me of the need to hold real money, gold and silver.

MPJones Mon, 07/17/2017 - 05:16 Permalink

This is the latest manifestation of the unholy alliance between high finance and bureacrats attempting to rule the world. It would mean that nobody would be able to buy anything, including food and shelter, without (a) paying a fee to the banking systm for the privilege and (b) having every financial movement tracked by the local parasitic crime syndicates calling themselves governments.This must be resisted at all cost: use local new currencies, barter and crypto-currencies for daily transactions. Throw off the yoke of central bank concrolled fiat currencies.