Average German ‘hoards €1,364 in cash’

Germany may be getting more digital, with a growing number of establishments accepting cards. But the country still is crazy for cash, a survey published Monday from the Bundesbank shows.

Average German 'hoards €1,364 in cash'
Photo: DPA

The average German carries a total of €107 in their wallet, and has a total of €1,364 in bank safe deposit boxes.

The amount of hoarded cash varies widely among the population, with some people carrying barely any extra cash, and others quite a bit.

Self-employed, older people and high-earners were the most likely to keep a lot of cash tucked away. 

READ ALSO: Will the coronavirus pandemic speed up the end of cash in Germany?

Bundesbank board member Johannes Beermann said that younger people tend to store less cash simply because they have less of it.

So why exactly do Germans store cash rather than, say, keeping it in a bank account?

From the point of view of 58 percent of those surveyed, the low interest rates are a reason to store notes and coins on a larger scale.

Cash is also a common means of payment, 55 percent said. In third place among the reasons is a lack of confidence in the security and resilience of the technical infrastructure, for example, fear of hacker attacks. 

Other possible motives cited by respondents who hoard cash were “no fees” and “anonymity”.

In addition, 12 percent of those surveyed name “hiding assets from the state” as a possible reason.

The Bundesbank defines hoarding as the storage of cash for a period of two weeks or more.

Whether people's behaviour has changed during the coronavirus crisis is not clear from the representative survey of 2000 people from 2018. There was no follow-up survey.

Cash is seen by many as a safe haven in turbulent times. Especially at the beginning of the crisis in Germany in March, according to other data from the Central Bank, the demand for notes and coins had risen significantly. 

Accordingly, there were also slight increases in the net issuance of cash in the following months. 

However, many businesses also began accepting card payments for the first time, as people worried about the hygiene of bank notes and coins.

READ ALSO: Cash loving Germany switches to contactless payments due to coronavirus fears

Key vocabulary

Wallet – Geldbeutel

Bank safe deposit boxes – (die) Bankschließfächern

Hoarding – (die) Hortung

safe haven – sicherer Hafen

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.



Member comments

  1. I just love the ‘key vocabulary’ stuff at the end of articles . . .well done to The Local. But just one query re the above list. I’ve never heard the word ‘Geldbeutel’ used for wallet. Rather everyone seems to use ‘Portmonnaie’ but maybe it’s because where I live in Baden-Württemberg the French Alsace is only 15km away!

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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.