SWEDEN, one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, is expected to become the world’s first cashless society by March 2023. By then, cash will not be accepted any longer as a means of payment in Sweden.
Most Swedes, especially those in the younger generations in bigger cities, never carry cash these days. Visitors don’t need to worry about currency exchange either. Cash is never needed, not even for small purchases in street food stores in parks. All vendors have a mobile payments chip-and-PIN card reader such as the one offered by Stockholm-based mobile payments company iZettle, or they accept payments by the mobile application Swish. In an increasing number of stores, signs read “No cash payment in this store.” Cash accounts for less than 1 percent of the total transactions in Sweden.
Now, more than 80 percent of all retail transactions are conducted electronically. This is similar in the rest of the other Nordic countries which include Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.
Only 13 percent of the total populations in Sweden rely on cash. Swedish banks issue debit cards to citizens aged seven years of age or older (with parental permission), which translates to more than 97 percent of the population. This introduces them to the cashless society that will be part of their future. Bank robberies have considerably decreased in the past years, since there is no cash in most banks in Sweden anymore. It also reduces drug, counterfeiting, and weapons market.
However, one survey by the Swedish polling firm last year suggested that seven out of 10 Swedes still want the option to be able to use cash as well as cards and apps. And lawmakers are exploring how well the country could handle digital payments in the event of a hacking or power failure.