25 Jun 2015

Will cash disappear?

In an interview with the business magazine “Focus Money”, Helmut Siekmann, Professor for Money, Currency and Central Bank Law at Goethe University Frankfurt, argued against the current demand to abolish cash and described the first steps in this direction as a violation of EU law.

According to Siekmann, countries such as Italy or Greece violate EU law by prohibiting cash payments above a certain amount – 1,000 and 1,500 euro respectively. Euro banknotes are the legal tender in each of the participating EU member countries. Thus, they have to be accepted for the settlement of monetary debts of unlimited amounts, Siekmann said in the interview.

Siekmann opposed an abolition of cash. He argued that one advantage of cash payments is, for example, that they do not leave any data traces as compared with electronic payments. Also, cash does not discriminate. It allows to make payments even if you do not have a bank account or a bank card that works in the respective country. Besides, in a cashless world, savers are more exposed to the risk of a bank failure. Avoiding this risk would cause enormous administrative burdens, Siekmann said. For example, savers could be allowed to open a bank account with a central bank.