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article imageSweden transitioning to being a cashless society

By Tim Sandle     Jul 8, 2017 in Business
Stockholm - Sweden is on course to become the first cashless country. New figures about ATM machines reveals the country has the lowest proportion of cash dispensers in the developed world.
The figures relating to Sweden and ATMs were issued to coincide with the anniversary of the first ATM, which was unveiled at a Barclays Bank branch in Enfield, London, U.K. As a tribute to the 'golden anniversary', Barclays temporarily transformed the modern-day Enfield cash machine into gold.
An ATM is an "automated teller machine", or, in the U.S., an "automatic teller machine" or "automated banking machine" in Canada; the device is an electronic telecommunications device that enables the customers of a financial institution to perform financial transactions, particularly cash withdrawal, without the need for a human cashier, clerk or bank teller. Since the introduction, ATMs have boomed across the world. However, in recent years, there has been a slowing down and some analysts are using this a sign of a drift towards a cashless society.
While Portugal has the highest proportion of cash machines in Europe with 1,516 machines per one million residents;
Sweden has the lowest with just 333 machines per one million inhabitants.
Old town of Stockholm  Sweden  seen from the waters of Lake Mälaren
Old town of Stockholm, Sweden, seen from the waters of Lake Mälaren
Sweden, of all the developed nations, is moving most quickly towards a cashless society. Swedish buses, for example, have not taken cash for years; and it is impossible to buy a ticket on the Stockholm metro with cash. In addition, most retailers now refuse to take coins (only bank notes). For big payments, according to Finanswer, many Swedish merchants often have signs up saying cards only accepted for payments above €20, and many now have signs saying checks not accepted.
The reluctance to take coins has also affected churches, traditionally a place where lose change is donated. A growing number of Swedish parishes have begun taking donations via mobile apps. In addition, Blomberg reports, Uppsala’s 13th-century cathedral also accepts credit cards. A big contrast to the church is the bar, and here too there is a reluctance to take cash.
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