Jens Weidmann: The future of cash

Opening speech by Dr Jens Weidmann, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements, at the cash symposium, Berlin, 10 November 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
12 November 2021

Ladies and gentleman,

Welcome to our fifth cash symposium. I am delighted that you have accepted the Bundesbank's invitation to join us today to talk about cash and its future.

Talking about the future, science fiction sometimes has some fascinating insights to offer. Take Jules Verne, whose novels predicted the invention of electric submarines or even mankind's journey to the Moon.

But the future of payments hasn't always whetted writers' creative appetites in quite the same way. In the worlds they conjure up, we encounter bars made of "gold-pressed latinum" or coins with names like "cubits" – or even just "credits". Perhaps this is partly because paying with coins and banknotes is such a normal part of everyday life today.

2 Payment behaviour

At least, it's part of most people's everyday lives in Germany. According to a survey we carried out last year, cash was the most frequently used option for day-to-day payments, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers paid in cash 60% of the time at the point of sale, for recreation activities, and in other situations. Even the generation of digital natives regularly uses banknotes and coins. Of those in the 18 to 24-year-old age bracket, just over half used cash.