Cash is king. Numerous customers have had to experience this in the past few days when they were unable to pay by card at Aldi, Netto, dm or Rossmann. The H5000 card terminals used there by the manufacturer Verifone were disrupted, instead of using a debit card (the former ec card) or credit card, only those who had cash with them could shop.

Now the situation seems to be easing. The Edeka discount subsidiary Netto reports that the terminals have been replaced, card payment is now possible again in all branches. Aldi Nord – Aldi Süd was not affected – also replaces the faulty devices. Some of the markets had already been converted over the weekend, “the rest will follow in the next few days,” emphasized a spokesman.

Germany’s largest supermarket chain Edeka gives the all-clear for Berlin: “As far as we know, there have been no cases of technical faults in the EC cash devices in the Berlin stores,” said a spokeswoman for the Tagesspiegel. In other regions that, like Berlin and Brandenburg, belong to the Minden-Hanover distribution area, the EC cash devices have been exchanged.

The drugstore chain dm emphasizes that it is now possible to pay with the giro card again in all stores. We are in close contact with the terminal manufacturer so that payment by credit card will soon be possible again, reports Finance Director Martin Dallmeier. In addition to cash payment and giro card, customers can also pay with Payback points, PaybackPay, AliPay and with the help of dm gift cards, Dallmeier told the Tagesspiegel. In addition, customers can shop and pay online in the dm store via the “Express Pickup” service and then pick up the order in the store.

The software glitch at Verifone is now also attracting alternative payment service providers who have not yet been active in retail. This includes the former Corona contact recording app Luca. The makers of the Luca app announced on Monday that they would now also be offering their digital payment service for retail in addition to gastronomy. The Luca app does not need a card terminal and works with the help of QR codes that are recorded with the smartphone.

The card glitch at the Verifone terminals appeared last Tuesday. It hits retailers so hard because more and more customers are now making cashless payments. Card payments accounted for 58.8 percent of retail sales last year, according to a study published in May by the Cologne retail research institute EHI. According to the trade association HDE, paying with cash has experienced an enormous boost, especially in the past two Corona years. But if you look at the number of transactions rather than turnover, cash still has the edge with a share of almost 61 percent.

Maybe it should stay that way. Consumer advocates consider the latest incident to be a warning signal. The problems highlighted “the risks that our economy’s over-dependence on cashless payment instruments entails,” warns Claudio Zeitz-Brandmeyer from the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (VZBV). “Even if cashless procedures are becoming more and more important, cash remains important as a safe alternative.” The consumer advocate is critical of the trend away from cash. He calls for a law so that cash payments must generally be possible everywhere in retail.

There is also something that many consumers do not know: Depending on the account model you have, paying with a card can also result in fees. This is shown by a study by the internet portal Biallo from the past year. When using the giro card, up to 80 cents can be incurred per payment transaction, the portal found out in a fee comparison in February 2021. At that time, at least 463 of a good 1,200 regional money houses collected from their customers. “It’s between 0.02 and 0.75 euros per payment transaction at the bakery, at the hairdresser’s or in retail, an average of at least 35 cents,” warns the portal.

An average customer who uses the card three times a day pays around 30 euros a month or 360 euros a year – in addition to the other bank fees. You can read about whether you are affected in the “Fee information according to the Payment Accounts Act/ZKG”. However, one should also be alert if unclear “booking fees” suddenly appear in the “Price Notice”, in the “Price Service List” or on the website in connection with certain current account models.