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I was paying bills in the Post Office today (I'm living in Switzerland) and the lady asked me if I wanted Bargeld. I'm fairly new to German, so I didn't understand what that was. I looked it up on Linguee later and it means cash. I was under the impression that Geld means cash, so I'm wondering what is the difference between Geld and Bargeld?

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Bargeld is cash, as in "money you can take into your hands". Geld just means money, so its a more abstract term. You also have money on your bank account, even though you don't really see that and can't take it into your pocket (at least not until you go to the bank or the post office and ask for a cash withdrawal).

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I suppose the lady at the Post Office wanted to know, how you would like to pay:

wollen sie Bar bezahlen, wollen Sie mit Bargeld bezahlen, which means to pay in cash, as opposed to pay with credit/debit card or bank-cheque

Maybe the best to explain the difference is Geld is more generalized and means money (besides you can translate it to cash too), Bargeld means cash (only)

  • It could also mean, if you want to withdraw money, which is possible at some post offices or supermarket checkouts if you pay with your debit cards. See: rewe.de/service/bargeld-abheben – Iris Jan 30 at 15:56
  • @Iris yes I know that, but as OP writes "I was paying bills in the Post Office" I decided to focus on that action (specially as OP writes " I'm fairly new to German, so I didn't understand what that was") – Vickel Jan 30 at 16:02
  • OP also wrote "the lady asked me if I wanted Bargeld". – Iris Jan 31 at 7:27

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