In Sweden, digital payments via card or a mobile app have become widely accepted. As a matter of fact, there are few Swedes who carry any cash at all. Even children often pay with their debit cards. Sweden is the uncrowned king of cashless trading.
A recent study from KTH-Royal Institute of Technology shows that Sweden is on track to becoming the world’s first cashless society. Thanks to its embrace of IT, a crackdown on organized crime and terror and the availability of fitting solutions like mobile payment systems Swish and iZettle, the Scandinavian country is relying increasingly less on cash nowadays. In a press release [pdf], the Swedish government also evangelizes the country’s latest effort with regards to payments.
In the Swedish retail industry, about 80 percent of all transactions are made by cards and 20 percent is done in cash. This number is increasing, thanks to a big trust in the government, the systems, the banks and the authorities, Bengt Nilervall from the Swedish Trade Federation says.
Less cash in circulation
At the moment, there is less than 80 billion Swedish crowns (about 8 billion euros) in circulation. This is a strong decline from just six years ago, when the total was 106 billion (11.5 billion euros). “For most private consumers, being able to pay with a card or via the very popular mobile payment app Swish, is convenient, secure, and free. Cards are used for purchases both small and large, and there are many instances where only digital payments are accepted”, the government says.
Of course, there are still groups, for example the elderly or rural population, who may not be as receptive to the idea of a cashless society. Also, some will be wary of paying with cards, as they are unhappy with the loss of privacy and freedom in a system where all transactions can be tracked.
Cash free sales welcomed by most retailers
The Swedish government says most retailers welcome cash free sales, as they bring more security and convenience to the table. “For small businesses and street vendors, the Swedish iZettle mobile payment solution for cards, or mobile app Swish, allow for easy payments. As with traditional credit card transactions however, the new digital solutions are also starting to charge fees for businesses, frustrating some vendors who must cover such costs, even for small purchases.”