Czech cash comeback? One in four shoppers told they can't use their cards

Analysts say that small businesses have made a shift to cash-only payments to avoid tax payments and added fees. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 05.09.2023 16:08:00 (updated on 05.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A recent survey by the STEM/MARK agency in collaboration with payment-services firm Euronet has revealed that one-quarter of people across Czechia have recently encountered situations where shops and businesses have refused card payments. Notably, this issue was more pronounced in the eastern parts of the country.

Experts speculate that some merchants' reluctance to accept card payments may stem from efforts to reduce tax payments. Earlier this year, a Senate initiative to enshrine the right to cash payments in the constitution was rejected, reflecting concerns about the potential mandatory nature of cashless payments amid the ongoing digitization.

Is cash bouncing back?

Among those who encountered merchants refusing card payments over the past year, nearly half stated that they usually carried enough cash to complete their transactions. One-third of respondents reported attempting to locate an ATM, while one in five opted to go elsewhere where card payments were accepted.


  • Czech law states that it is legal for sellers to refuse card payments.
  • Sellers can also legally set up a minimum payment amount for cards, usually between CZK 50 and 100.
  • However, several payment terminals (such as Comgate) explicitly forbid implementing a minimum payment for cards.
  • Merchants are able to offer lower prices for items if a buyer pays for them in cash.
  • Sellers are able to charge a fee for card payments, but only as long as it doesn't exceed the direct costs they incur by accepting card payments.

Euronet's executive director, Ondřej Kozák, presented the survey's findings, highlighting a significant increase in the frequency of cash usage compared to the previous year. Approximately 42 percent of respondents now use cash frequently, with residents of Moravia showing a higher inclination toward this payment method.

"Compared to last year, the number of people who use cash frequently has increased by 11 percentage points. Overall, this now stands at 42 percent of respondents. The frequent use of cash was mainly reported by residents of Moravia"

Ondřej Kozák, Euronet executive director

The survey indicated a notable shift in daily payment habits, with a third of respondents reporting using cash on a daily basis, up from a quarter the previous year. Furthermore, a sizable 94 percent of respondents use cash at least once a week. A separate survey from earlier this year revealed that almost six in 10 Czechs “almost always” pay via card, which marks a sharp rise in recent years.

The primary reason for choosing cash payments was merchants refusing credit card payments. Other factors included the desire to maintain established payment habits and exercise greater control over personal finances, with payments of small amounts being the most commonly mentioned spontaneous reason for using cash.

Kozák emphasized that poor ATM availability, especially in small municipalities, remains a significant issue. While 45 percent of respondents expressed a desire for more ATMs in the places they frequent during the day, this demand has not seen significant improvement from the previous year.

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