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    Advice: avoid reading the comments.

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      What a ride. These people are fanatics.

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        There is one I sort of agree with, which is that the downside is fragmentation with every bank implementing their own thing and then trying to force use of it. So instead of today where there’s a small number of widely-deployed options for mobile payment and most people have access to a way to do one of them, you’ll have to either go back to using a physical card, or else hunt around for the one place that works with the FirstBankOfEastPodunkPay™ app because that bank refuses to authorize any other mobile payment system.

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          In Germany, that’s not an issue, there’s already a payment system they’re going to use.

          Basically, the banks cooperatively developed a card and payment system (over 15 years ago, actually), which is now girocard/EC, which ends up with only 0.125% total end-to-end fees¹, chip+PIN since 2004 and very fast transactions. Obviously, this is much cheaper for the banks and merchants than VISA or MasterCard, and was the reason why for many years merchants such as ALDI only accepted this system.

          Girocard/EC also has an NFC standard, girogo, also with significantly lower fees than PayPass or PayWave, and is supported with basically all terminals in Germany.

          Girocard/EC is extremely popular, 3-4 times more popular than VISA/MasterCard credit/debit cards in Germany, and basically everyone has them.

          So it’s quite likely we’ll just end up with German banks simply using the payment network they already own ;)


          1. comparatively, VISA/MasterCard used to be around 2-3%, now forced by the EU to lower those to 0.2%, cash payments end up around 0.2% at the scale of merchants due to processing, transport, etc. This actually led to some places, such as official agencies in some cities, only taking girocard/EC payment, not any other cards nor cash.
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            So it’s quite likely we’ll just end up with German banks simply using the payment network they already own ;)

            Sorry, but banking/payment in Germany sucks. If you are at bank A, you have to pay a fee if you use an ATM of bank B. This often led to the bizarre situation (my wife is German and we lived in Germany for 5 years) where Germans have to go to another ATM to avoid transaction fees, while I can get cash anywhere with my Dutch card without extra fees. In the Netherlands there is also one system, but you never pay fees, regardless of which bank’s ATM you use.

            Unrelated, but don’t get me started on card payments in Germany. All the small shops, like bakeries expect you to pay cash. In supermarkets, you can pay with a card, but very often they don’t use PINs. But you have to hand over your card and literally sign a paper sheet, and then the cashier compares your signature to that on your card. Except for the internet banks (such as ING), the internet banking sites are absolutely horrible. At some point we were with Sparkasse and the password for internet banking was literally a 4-digit PIN. Transferring money from one account to another can take days. For every small thing (like ‘unlocking’ payment in more countries) you had to go to a bank office.

            Meanwhile we are back in The Netherlands. I never carry cash and I don’t even need a wallet, because I can pay contactless everywhere with my phone, watch, or card. Transfers are (nearly) immediate. We split the bills and pay them with ‘Tikkie’ over WhatsApp/iMessage.

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              I’ve been getting back into using cash lately. I can’t trust the data collecters not to abuse my payment history, and if switching to cash slows its decline a little bit, that’s great.

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                If you are at bank A, you have to pay a fee if you use an ATM of bank B.

                They pretty much bundled up into 3 networks now, so you have a 1:3 chance to run into the right shop. Or you share your money transactions with the whole world by using a credit card that is now often “free” with German accounts as well, getting the same trade-off you have with foreign credit cards (free ATMs, no privacy due to the card issuer).

                Credit cards weren’t popular in Germany for a long time due to their excessive fees, so merchants didn’t support them. EC (the local system) was better, but cash is still the only free option. EU regulations forced credit card issuers to drop their fees to more attractive levels and suddenly they’re getting supported by everybody. who would have thought?

                In supermarkets, you can pay with a card, but very often they don’t use PINs.

                The background to that is that signatures are used for offline transactions which work with less effort in the backend. Getting less common these days because supermarkets carry more risk on them compared to online transactions (that use PINs), so it’s really just a fallback when the terminal can’t connect to the servers. Contactless options are increasingly accepted without any authentication at all below a certain value (20-50€, depending on the bank).

                Transferring money from one account to another can take days.

                Transfers now have to clear next bank day (Mo-Fr) at the latest, but usually happen faster. I last encountered transfers that take days in 2005 or so.

                I can pay contactless everywhere with my phone, watch, or card

                Given that some of the experiences you report sound rather outdated to me, I wonder if you’re comparing apples to apples here. There were no cards, watches or phones that could have paid contactless in 2005.

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                  I don’t think they are outdated. I lived in Germany until August last year and this is based on my experiences in Germany (Baden Württemberg) from 2013-2018.

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                    Maybe you were just with a shitty bank? I’m sure the netherlands also have shitty banks, but I literally haven’t had any of your experiences ever since using cards or transfers for payment, and that was since 2014.

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                      I live in Berlin and this is also my experience. It is getting marginally better, some places are starting to accept cards, but you cannot rely on your EC card or Visa/Mastercard to get around.

                      Online banking is still a joke, but has been getting better, probably due to some pressure from competitors like Number26.

                      I also don’t understand how so many people here don’t want to use cards because of privacy reasons, but they are happy to give their private data to Facebook and it’s companies (whatsapp, instagram, etc).

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                        I also don’t understand how so many people here don’t want to use cards because of privacy reasons, but they are happy to give their private data to Facebook and it’s companies (whatsapp, instagram, etc).

                        Why are you assuming they are using these services?

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                          I am not assuming, I am known from people I talk to. I didn’t mean to answer the person in this thread that mentioned that.

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                          I also don’t understand how so many people here don’t want to use cards because of privacy reasons, but they are happy to give their private data to Facebook and it’s companies (whatsapp, instagram, etc).

                          For what it’s worth (since I brought up privacy upthread), I’m not using Facebook’s services, and very limited Google services despite working there (and I soothe my privacy concerns with that I can see how the sausage is made)

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                      As a German living in the Netherlands now, I agree with all of the above.

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                        But you have to hand over your card and literally sign a paper sheet, and then the cashier compares your signature to that on your card.

                        That’s actually technically not allowed, the merchants still do it because they’re cheap, but it means 100% of the risk is on the merchant.

                        For every small thing (like ‘unlocking’ payment in more countries) you had to go to a bank office.

                        Never had that, was at a bank office 3 times in my life, once when the account was opened, once when it was turned from a child to an adult account, and once when I moved across states.

                        Transferring money from one account to another can take days

                        Literally wrong, as per SEPA rules 24 hours has been the max for years, and thanks to SEPA-ICT almost all banks offer up to 15’000€ in under 15 seconds, and I’m using this quite frequently.

                        I never carry cash and I don’t even need a wallet, because I can pay contactless everywhere with my phone, watch, or card. Transfers are (nearly) immediate

                        And you pay 2% extra for everything, as that’s the fees mastercard/VISA collect, which ends up for an average household being a 40€/month fee. If this wasn’t a hidden fee, but actually visible to you, pretty much no one would use it anymore.

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                          No, I am not paying 2% extra. I am literally paying what the product/bill costs, no extra cost. Apple Pay is not associated to our credit card, but directly to the bank account (debit card). In fact, I can even switch on the fly from which of the (possible) 20 IBANs the debit card/Apple Pay should subtract from.

                          I don’t care that I am indirectly paying for it, because everyone is. There is no difference in cost for me in using or not using Apple Pay.

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                            And that’s exactly the tragedy of the commons: everyone only looking out for their own benefit, and as result, everyone being worse off.

                            It makes sense for you, personally, but for us, as society, it’s absolutely the wrong solution. And it’s the reason why this can’t be fixed by the market, but has to be fixed through laws, e.g. by banning credit card fees, or creating an EU-funded card network directly.

                            Alternatively, we could have a law forcing people to pay the fee associated with their payment method directly – you’d also suddenly start using cheaper card systems or cash again if you’d save 2% on everything.

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                            That’s actually technically not allowed, the merchants still do it because they’re cheap, but it means 100% of the risk is on the merchant.

                            I don’t know if it’s not allowed but happens to me at least every week.

                            Never had that, was at a bank office 3 times in my life, once when the account was opened, once when it was turned from a child to an adult account, and once when I moved across states.

                            I currently have my account blocked because I pressed the wrong button on the UI. Have to go to the bank now.

                            Literally wrong, as per SEPA rules 24 hours has been the max for years, and thanks to SEPA-ICT almost all banks offer up to 15’000€ in under 15 seconds, and I’m using this quite frequently.

                            I don’t think it’s 24 hours, it’s a business day and only counts before 15:00 or something like that. But this is true, if you transfer before 15:00 it will be on the other account the next day.

                            And you pay 2% extra for everything, as that’s the fees mastercard/VISA collect, which ends up for an average household being a 40€/month fee. If this wasn’t a hidden fee, but actually visible to you, pretty much no one would use it anymore.

                            I don’t think this is how prices work. If they didn’t have that 2% fee do you think merchants would just lower their prices? Or they would use it for profit or some other investment? I think it would just mean the money would go somewhere else but it’s not certain it would go to the customer.

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                              If they didn’t have that 2% fee do you think merchants would just lower their prices?

                              Look at the price pressure on the German market, and you’ll realize, yes they would.

                              Profit margins in grocery in most countries are in the double digits, some German grocery store chains have profit margins in the sub-single-digit range. The market is heavily fought over, and if a merchant could reduce their price even a half percent in any possible way, they would.