Federal government plans upper limit – for cash payments

Grune against, left for

The federal government plans to make cash payments legal in the future only up to a limit of 5.000 euros will be legal. State secretary for finance michael meister of the cdu justifies this with the financing of terrorism, which in his opinion would be made more difficult. Before that, however, the federal government wants to work toward an international or eu-wide ban. However, if this does not happen soon, germany will, according to meister "go ahead".

The spd is the main party in the federal government pushing for the ban. It had already called last week for 500-euro bills to be withdrawn from circulation. Earlier, deutsche bank ceo john cryan had declared at the world economic forum in davos that cash was "terribly expensive and inefficient", and help "only money launderers and other criminals to disguise their businesses", why it "disappear in the next ten years" will. When a record loss for the financial institution was announced shortly afterwards, science fiction writer tom hillenbrand wondered on twitter: "let’s see who is more likely to disappear, cash or deutsche bank"?

For the greens, who are usually positive about european unification plans, konstantin von notz, a member of the bundestag, surprisingly criticized the plan as a "fundamental attack on data protection and privacy". Richard pitterle, the tax policy spokesman for the left party in the bundestag, on the other hand, welcomed the cash payment cap as an "effective means" to combat money laundering.

This has drawn criticism from some dissidents in the cdu and csu and from parties not represented in the bundestag: for former fdp member of parliament frank schaffler, who in 2011 was called a "euro rebel" became known, cash is, for example "printed freedom" and the bavarian party refers to the much more extensive possibilities of silent expropriation after the full digitalization of money by means of negative interest rates, which savers will then find very difficult to avoid, while badly performing governments will use them to reduce their public debt (cf. Cash bans led to more control and expropriation).

The free wahler reminds of a party conference resolution fallen in the last year to the "cash protection", in which before a "total control over the consumption behavior of each individual" is warned. And also with the afd it is said that one has "this foreseeable development as well as its pretended justification ‘prevention of terror financing’" already 2015 "anticipated" and rejected in the basic program text.

Federal government plans upper limit - for cash payments

Photo: friedrich kromberg. J. Pilsak. License: cc by-sa 3.0

In france, belgium, spain, portugal, italy, croatia, greece, bulgaria, romania, the czech republic, poland and slovakia, legal limits for cash payments have already been introduced. In italy, for example, a fine of 40 percent of the payment (or at least 3 percent of the amount) is imposed.000 euro), if you pay amounts above 999,99 euro in cash.

But so far there is no country where cash is officially banned. Only iran is planning a rough test for this on the island of kisch (cf. Iran plans to abolish cash). The fact that no state has yet dared to impose a total ban could be due to the fear that in this case the citizens might look for another general form of value – for example, a foreign currency such as the dollar (which is in fact the most important means of payment in some third-world countries) – or bitcoins.

Prior to the currently used reference to terrorist financing, advances to abolish cash were justified, among other things, by the fight against tax evasion, money laundering and corruption. These phenomena might actually decrease if the state controls cash flows more tightly. The alleged advantage, mentioned mainly in the german mainstream media, that people would have to wait less at supermarket checkouts after cash had been abolished, was allowed to be a fallacy in contrast:

If you stand in front of a supermarket checkout and do a few spot checks with your smartphone stopwatch, you’ll quickly find that paying in cash is usually faster than using an ec card and secret code or signature. One exception to this is very old people – but it is highly questionable whether they would be faster if they were forced to pay by ec card. Some of them might not be able to do their own shopping and would not only lose some of their independence, but also incur care costs that would have to be borne by the public purse.

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