Sweden almost a cash-free country

Sweden almost a cash-free country


The plastic vs cash war seems to be weighing towards the plastic.  At least in the Scandinavian countries.  Sweden, for example is almost completely on plastic now.

As per a report in October 2014, 4 out of 5 or 80% of the purchases in Sweden are made electronically or by debit card.  As the technology becomes cheaper the society is moving to becoming a real cash-free society.

“Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia leads the world in terms of cashless trading,” said Bengt Nilervall at the Swedish Federation of Trade (Svensk Handel).

Swedes use their debit and credit cards almost every day – an average of 260 transactions per person per year.

Other parts of Europe, specially Italy isn’t that way though.

The real crux is that the banks should be trust-worthy.  Italian banks don’t enjoy that with the customers.  What are the benefits of a cash-free society?  For one it helps everyone, increases efficiency of operations and apparently robberies have come down.  Although, with increased hacking risks and phishing security breaches, the losses via credit card misuse could be very high as well.

A cash free society would lead to increased security for both staff and customers and would cut cash-handling costs – estimated to be around 8.7 billion kronor ($1.2 billion), some 0.3% of GDP.

Armed robberies are furthermore in decline in line with the reduction of cash use. In 2012, a mere five bank robberies were committed, according to the Swedish Bankers’ Association – the lowest figure in 30 years.

Meanwhile, simultaneously, the mobile-based payments are rising around the world, specifically Africa.  Computers are expensive, but mobiles are ubiquitous even in the poorer countries and that has suddenly made mobile money transactions a viable and cheap alternative for many.

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Featured Image source: Flickr

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