Stores need to accept cash regardless, so there’s still some minimal added costs to using cash, but even with the offered discount it’s less than the credit cards...
however if stores stopped accepting credit cards they would quickly find themselves drowning in the same costs that credit cards were invented to avoid.
I'm not sure I buy "drowning in the same costs". I think there's something more akin to a prisoner's dilemma here.
Not sure were you were. I am from northern Germany, around Hamburg.
But every single store that does accept cards (not every little store can bear the fees, though) has theses signs.
So I would counter your n=1 anecdotal argument with an equally non representative n=1 argument. No one learns anything, except that some shops in Germany ask for the use of cash-alternatives, others don't.
On a recent trip to Germany, I didn't see a single such sign.
Germany is changing gradually, perhaps due to the EU's limits on the fees Visa and MasterCard can change, but Covid-19 doesn't seem to have much effect.
But I asked someone in a popular local store ( Belgium) and consumer behaviour hasn't changed.
Also, you mention Covid would be a stimulator for digital payments and that doesn't seem the case in Belgium. So I wouldn't know why it would be the case for Germany.
Before COVID one of the main banks AIB was to introduce some extra charges but they stopped that charge increase https://www.irishtimes.com/business/retail-and-services/aib-...
Maybe your city has a “safety of crowds” thing going on but when cash only businesses start going scarce, I bet the remaining holdouts start getting more and more scrutiny.
The money industry tends to be heavily regulated, and self-regulated (PCI DSS) for a reason. Crime happens there because that's literally where the money is.
I'm doing my part, though. I pay with cash whenever I can. In Germany that's easy (often the only option e.g. in restaurants). In Sweden, not so much. And then there are countries in between.
It's been accelerated sharply by the pandemic. The few holdouts changed tack. There's accessibility concerns for the unbanked.