(Bloomberg) -- Payment apps are becoming increasingly popular in cash-loving Switzerland, according to a new central bank survey.

Almost 60% of businesses with physical shops now allow customers to pay via app, up 19 percentage points in two years, the poll of some 1,750 companies headquartered in the country showed. By comparison, debit or credit cards are accepted in about half.

The Swiss National Bank conducts the survey on companies’ preferred payment methods every two years — the current one was carried out in summer 2023. In the previous poll, firms ranked cards ahead of apps.

Companies choose accepted payment methods primarily based on their customers’ preferences, followed by reliability considerations, the central bank said. It also echoed earlier remarks that to maintain a widely accessible cash infrastructure, consumers need to continue using bills and coins.

Switzerland is one of the world’s most banknote-savy countries with every citizen holding on average more than $10,000 in physical money, while also a popular initiative to enshrine cash in the constitution is pending. Still, it’s also seen as the cheapest payment method by businesses, according to the SNB.

“Cash is considered to have the lowest costs of the accepted payment methods, followed by debit cards, mobile payment apps and finally credit cards,” the central bank said.

In terms of payment apps, Twint — jointly offered by the largest Swiss banks and stock market operator SIX — is the most commonly used solution. The largely domestically confined program is used by more than half of the population, according to its operator.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.