Card or cash?


ZDF-zoom Reportage (2020)

Germany is divided: No other country in Europe carries around so much cash. But since the coronavirus crisis, more and more people have been using digital payments. The pandemic is accelerating the trend towards cashless payments. Card companies are benefiting from this development as they earn money from the fees. However, data protectionists warn that information is collected, stored and often passed on with every payment.  Sarah Spiekermann from the Vienna University of Economics and Business has investigated digital payments. She speaks of “surveillance capitalism” with consequences: “Quite normal, similar people pay different prices for airline tickets, hotels, for example, are not insured or never receive a specific job offer.”


Tilmann P. Gangloff in the Frankfurter Rundschau: “Card or Cash” only lasts just under thirty minutes, so to a certain extent, entertainment is included. Despite its many facets and the journeys across the continent, the reportage is neither erratic nor superficial, even if the industrial trade in data and the almost complete transparency of human existence are of course also discussed. And while it often seems vain when reporters put themselves in the picture, it is actually a pleasure to watch Schüßler’s research, especially as he is obviously a pleasant conversationalist; at any rate, the carefully selected men and women he talks to seem very relaxed. The decisive point, however, is the closeness that Schüßler also creates with his viewers. The subject may become abstract at times, but he always finds criteria that are relevant to consumers. Finally, the sympathetic epilogue illustrates the small happiness that everyone knows when you find a coin on the street. This, too, would no longer exist if cash were abolished.

Author: Kersten Schüßler

camera: Ulf Behrens

editing: Rainer Speidel

editor: Nikolai Pijota (ZDF)