Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageSweden soon to become world's first cashless society

By Phyllis Smith Asinyanbi     Oct 15, 2015 in Business
Stockholm - Sweden is on the fast track to becoming the world's first cashless society due to increasing use of Swish, a mobile payment system.
Recently, a study published by industrial technologists at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology details the country's rapid decrease in cash use. Niklas Arvidsson, an author of the study said, "Our use of cash is small, and it's decreasing rapidly."
His colleagues calculated that there are only 80 billion Swedish crowns (about €8 bn) in circulation, while six years ago there were about 106 billion. Arvidsson said, "And out of that amount, only somewhere between 40 and 60 percent is actually in regular circulation." Swedes make about 80 percent of online and retail purchases with credit cards, debit cards and mobile app payments.
Most shops accept bank cards payments, and the majority of people carry no bills or coins. The Swish app, a collaboration between the Danish bank, Bankgiro, and Sweden's national bank, Riksbanken, allows for quick money transfers via smartphones in real-time. In Sweden, some banks branches are completely digitized and don't accept cash.
At branches that allow cash, customers are queried about the source, and suspicious activity is reported to police. A cashless society is not accessible to everyone, including older people, homeless individuals and undocumented immigrants.
Stockholm private security professional Björn Ericsson stated, "There's a worry about fraud as well. With figures from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention showing that fraud has more than doubled in the last decade." Ericsson added that despite Edward Snowden's disclosures about the NSA, few talk about being tracked electronically.
IJohanna Hållén of the Swedish National Pensioners' Organization raised concerns about how well close to 2 million retired people will adapt.
A lot of elderly people feel excluded when you need to use cash cards or your mobile phone to take a bus or use public toilets. Only 50 percent of our members use cash-cards everywhere and 7 percent never use cash-cards. So we want the government to take things slowly.
However, the plan is deemed "unstoppable" by Pia Stolt of Situation Stockholm — a paper sold by the homeless in Sweden. She said sellers conveyed that non-cash carriers wanted a copy of the magazine. Stolt added, “It got to the point where we had to do something, so we worked with Stockholm-based mobile payments company iZettle and came up with a way to sell the magazine electronically." Buyers didn't hesitate about giving their credit card information to homeless vendors and sales increased by 59 percent.
Arvidsson's study stated that terrorism and other crimes have propelled the move toward a cashless society. But veteran Stockholm policeman, Inspector Kjell Lindgren, said identity theft occurs frequently and mugged victims are forced to reveal their PINs.
Per Arvidsson, convincing the world to use Swish would be a challenge, as it would mean a complete overhaul of the banking system in other countries.
More about Sweden, cashless society, digital transactions, mobile payment system
More news from
Latest News
Top News