Supermarket, gas station and co. – Genuine alternatives to the ATM?


In the past few years, the daily press has increasingly reported on towns, communities and small cities that offered only limited service hours. However, it was not enough to run locations profitably. As a result, financial institutions closed branches completely and ATMs were also dismantled. The question that arises in this context is: What is the situation of cash supply in Germany? Supermarkets and gas stations seem to offer a practical alternative with cash services.

Not without cash!

Despite the corona pandemic and the resulting hype about contactless, supposedly virus-free payment, there is still no clear decline in the use of cash. Bills and coins therefore remain in first place. Also in retail, more than half of the customers pay in cash – especially for smaller amounts. Thus, going to the bakery or paying a tip are still irrevocably associated to cash. Nevertheless, there is a noticeable trend: mobile payment methods are gaining in popularity.

Many financial institutions are using this development as an opportunity to reduce their own ATM network. According to figures from the Federal Association of German Cooperative Banks (BVR), more than 4,000 ATMs have been taken down since 2014. In the last two years, the figure was around 1,800 (Read more about these figures in Handelsblatt). Other reasons include the decline in the number of branches and self-service locations as well as ATM demolitions. In the past year, the number of the latter was in the mid-hundreds.

Alternative in store

Some retailers, such as electronics retailer Gravis, have adopted this non-cash trend as well, completely eliminating coins and bills from their stores. Meanwhile, others are trying to fill the gap of disappearing ATMs. Many supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, for example, offer cash-out at checkout. However, this option is not new. As part of customer service, cash has been available for withdrawal in stores since the 2000s.

However, this service has become more popular over the years. It allows customers to combine their purchases at the checkout with cash withdrawals. In most cases, this cashback service is available for a minimum purchase of 5 or 10 euros. As a rule, amounts between 10 and 200 euros can be withdrawn from the checking account. This eliminates the need for consumers to make a trip to the ATM.

If a retailer is a viacash partner, money can be easily withdrawn at the counter or deposited into the checking account. For more information about viacash: please click here.


Even though traditional sources of cash are disappearing, according to the Deutsche Bundesbank, cash will continue to be supplied primarily via bank counters and ATMs in the near future – and this with an “overwhelming majority”. However, store checkouts offer a profitable alternative for withdrawing cash in an easy and uncomplicated way.

Whether you are a financial institution or a retailer, we at ALVARA I Digital Solutions are committed to optimizing your cash processes. Interested? Then we look forward to receiving your contact request!