Abolishing cash the hidden way...?

Yesterday I bought a Twint voucher for CHF 800 from Coop. I wanted to pay with a CHF 1000 bill. However, they wouldn’t accept it and had to call a supervisor who took the bill to an office to change it into CHF 100 notes (which they gave me and asked me to pay with). The whole process took almost 20 minutes, and it seems that someone paying with a CHF 1,000 bill - legal tender! - is a special case for Coop. They were also unwilling to explain to me why this whole annoying process was necessary. And all this happened in a Coop store that isn’t so small. This is something new for me.

I have a problem with it: I mean, I pay with legal tender and what I buy is almost as much as my bill. Why do they make it so annoying? I can’t help thinking that this is some kind of hidden way to get rid of cash payments… I know this may not be the right forum for my position, but I’m a strong supporter of having both electronic AND cash payments!


You’re not so much really „buying“ something as you are exchanging something.


Surely it’s to prevent fraud. Shame they couldn’t explain to you though. Contact their customer service if not convinced(?)

Cash in registers is there for liquidity, there’s not much a cashier can do with a 1K bill in their register, it’s just dead money that can get stolen, a liability without asset properties.

What is strange is that they asked for you to pay with the CHF 100 bills instead of taking your 1000 and giving you back 200 but that could be explained with administrative practices (they’d have to fill some paper to exchange the cash once it enters the register which they don’t have to if the manager does it themselves).

1K bills aren’t very common, smaller shops are also likely to not take them (it would eat up most of their liquidity, if they even have enough cash to take it in the first place). Shops aren’t protected like banks so they loathe having big amounts of money on the front lines (cash registers). Same goes for restaurants.


Don’t think there’s any hidden agenda, shops have to manage their liquidity and as cash payment become less common they struggle more and are less flexible.

Another anecdote: card payment and twint were broken at my coffee shop, so would have needed to pay with cash. Since I now always pay by card had only a 100 CHF bill, but they didn’t have to liquidity to cash me so just told me to pay next time I come.
I’m pretty sure this would have never happened pre COVID when cash was still the norm in cafe/bars (many places even had a lower limit).

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you got me wondering: what use does a cashier have for a 200 CHF banknote? once received, they’re just piling up, or? same argument as with the 1000 one.

Depending on the price of the things they sell, they may have little to no use for CHF 200 bills either. I’d guess they take them if they fit a “not alienating the customer vs available liquidity vs the odds of being robbed and loosing the content of the full register” optimization, which I bet they pass most of the time while CHF 1000 bills may not.

One thing big retailers like Coop have is a lot of data. I’d be very surprized if they didn’t run modellings behind the scene.

Edit: on a side note, there is such a thing as the highest value bill that you accept piling up in a register/purse. They get exchanged for smaller notes when needs be, usually at least at the end of the day (my experience is with restaurants, I’d guess retailers have similar practices, though with bigger amounts).

I have seen a customer trying to pay at coop with a 1000 chf bill before 2009. The cashier called the manager, but I think they only tested it and it was quite fast

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how often does a Coop get robbed, in Switzerland? does this happen at all? There are cameras. I guess robbing a Coop would be the stupidest crime. I would assume a bigger risk is that the money silently gets lost. They count it and it’s missing.

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Swiss law requires all businesses and individuals to accept Swiss franc banknotes as payment without restriction:

You have every right to pay with a 1000 franc bill. In practice, of course, this isn’t always manageable for the merchant in terms of change or verifying banknotes. Very small merchants simply don’t have the turnover to deal with those large amounts. So it’s a matter of common sense. However, you have the right to pay, and the counterparty is legally required to accept Swiss legal tender as settlement for a commercial transaction.

For a large Coop to hassle you over a 1000-franc bill is very unusual, especially considering that spending several hundred francs on a single Coop shopping cart is almost the norm. But they do have the right to verify the banknote’s authenticity. It’s just unusual for a big merchant.

I spend 1000-franc bills often enough at bigger merchants, and haven’t had this issue yet. But I have noticed a trend towards merchants deliberately discouraging cash payments. They obviously have an interest in doing so (automation, higher spending by customers who use cashless payments, etc.)

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It’s actually not that simple:

… Against this background, the Federal Council considers the postulate’s proposal to transform the current cash acceptance obligation from dispositive law (where it is possible to contractually exclude cash payments) into mandatory law to be neither appropriate nor necessary at present. …

There are already some places that don’t accept cash. I know of two in Zurich.

Interesting read. Wasnt aware about this. Few days ago I was in a restaurant in a shopping mall and there was a clear sign „cards only“.

But I think at fuel stations there was alteady a „no 1000 bills“ sign 25 years ago.

The current law is very clear and straightforward. But as with all laws, whether or not it is enforced depends on whether victims press charges, and these charges lead to clear legislative precedents.

It can be argued that the law only applies to settlements of debts. In that interpretation, a person/merchant would be allowed to request payment by credit card, Twint, check, gold, cryptonite, etc. when offering goods or services. But once a debt is incurred (e.g. once you have eaten the meal at the restaurant, or opened the parcel), then they are legally obliged to accept legal tender as payment for the debt.

However, the Swiss law (unlike the legal tender laws of some other countries) specifies payments, and not just debt.

But with extremely powerful anti-cash lobby of big banks and big tech in most governments, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Swiss law requiring acceptance of cash is modified in the not-too-distant future.


Yep. What I really meant is that in my case Coop would not have had to handle much cash after the transaction, i.e. I didnt’ exchange or buy only a CHF 10 Twint voucher or os, but an amount that is almost equal to the CHF 1000 bill.

What is a twint voucher and what is it used for?

You can top up your TWINT by buying vouchers at Coop cashiers. Especially useful for TWINT prepaid, but works with any TWINT.


I see. With 20k I’d say this is what money laundering looks like, but with 1000 it?s a bit ridiculous.

Depends on how often (s)he buys those voucher, doesn’t it?

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I listened to a podcast once, the premise is that financial services, tech companies and gov have a huge interest to force people to go digital. This way, they can have your data, or called digital gold these days. Capitalists want to sell your data and gov wants to track you (taxes, money laundering, and so forth).

I feel quite bad for the people who can’t use or want to use digital banking. It’s becoming so damn hard for them to withdraw cash and or pay bills without being charged!

You haven’t heared about banking secrecy in Switzerland, have you?