The new Buchmann bakery in Zurich’s Universitätsstrasse is a real rarity in Switzerland: a retail business that accepts electronic payment options ranging from bitcoins to Apple Pay but which won’t take plain old cash.
“The circumstances were right because here in the university district there are lots of young people and students who are tech savvy,” Buchmann manager Daniel Wehrli told Swiss news portal 20 Minuten.
Wehrli said going cash-free made sense from a hygiene point of view and also meant less work for staff as they did not have to tally up takings and carry these to a post office at the end of the day.
“But we also wanted to make a stance. For us, cashless payments are the way of the future,” the Buchmann manager told Zurich daily Tages Anzeiger.
There have been a couple of negative comments from customers but most people have welcomed the move.
“You usually have more problems because a shop doesn’t accept credit cards,” one customer said.
But customers who are only carrying cash do have a last option: they can put their purchases on a tab and pay the next time they are in the store.
Reverting to cash payments is also the last resort if internet services fail completely.
A recent poll by Swiss price comparison website Comparis found cash was the preferred payment method of payment for 40 percent of respondents in Switzerland against 34 percent for debit cards and 25 percent for credit cards.
However, the poll also found only three percent of people used their smartphones for contactless payments while only one percent of respondents said apps like Apple Pay were their preferred payment method.