A difficult start to the future: Japanese do not want to let go of cash

Japan is known for pioneering technological advances. When it comes to paying, however, the citizens are more traditionalists: only about 20 percent of payments are made there cashless.

The Germans are not alone with their preference for cash. Even in technology-savvy Japan, despite electronic payment systems, there is still plenty of it: only cash is true. In the aging population, the dislike is greater than anywhere else, by mobile app or pay plastic money. Even in German supermarkets cash is still predominantly paid at the cash register. Coins and bills are used for three quarters of all retail purchases, according to a study by the Bundesbank.

In Japan, the government now wants to ensure that by 2025, at least 40 percent of payments are processed cashlessly, which is twice as many as currently. As a result, the country lags behind other states in Asia for miles. In South Korea, it is already 96 percent and in China, after all, about two-thirds of the transactions, as figures from the Japanese industry association Payments Japan Association show. In the People's Republic is expected next week, another big jump in the digital future of the money before. The US financial magazine "Forbes" recently reported that China wants to launch its own digital money on November 11, thereby cutting out Facebook, which will not launch its own cryptocurrency Libra until the first half of 2020.

For many older Japanese, that's a different world. "I'm not interested in living without cash," says a 65-year-old Tokyo woman. "I would feel uncomfortable if I lost my phone." In addition, she then miss the overview of how much she has spent. A look in your wallet is much more enlightening. Despite these reservations, companies such as the telecoms giant Softbank and the e-commerce company Mercari vigorously stir up the promotional drum for electronic payment.

"It's easy for the boys"

That does not stay without success. So Softbank with its partner Yahoo Japan has already managed to increase the number of subscribers to the PayPay payment app by five million to fifteen million within a few months – also thanks to the government campaign. This has recently made consumers want to make the transition from cash to electronic payment systems palatable with a system that allows them to collect discount points on the recently increased VAT in small shops.

So far, there are many reasons for using cash in Japan. Because the fear of theft is not as pronounced as in other states because of the relatively low crime rate. In addition, there is a wide network of ATMs that makes withdrawals practically nationwide possible. But that could change. Commercial banks are beginning to thin out the automated network – making it difficult for them to access cash. This is a tough time for the elderly, who make up almost a third of the population. Feared by the 70-year-old flower salesman Mitsuo Kotake, whose mostly older customers with the payment app usually could not cope: "For the boys, this is easy, but seniors are just unfamiliar with it."

. [TagsToTranslate] Economy

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