Cash has almost gone extinct in Sweden

mongeese

TS Maniac
Staff member

Paying with a card or phone or just buying things online first gained popularity due to its convenience, but as the New York Times notes, it’s now at the point where cash is so rare in Sweden it’s costly for shops to support it. After noticing that only 1% of customers used cash while employees were spending 15% of their time counting, organizing and storing it, an Ikea store decided to stop accepting cash temporarily. Only 0.12% of customers have been unable to pay without cash, mostly in the store's café.

“We said, ‘If you want a 50-cent hot dog, be my guest, take it. But next time maybe you can bring a card,’” Patrick Burstein, a senior manager, told the NY Times. He says it's more profitable to give a little food away than to manage the cash. “We’re spending a lot of resources on a very small percentage that actually needs the service.”

The move hasn’t been popular with everyone, however. The nearest branch of the Swedish National Pensioners Organization has been organizing protests against Ikea's experiment, saying that it has alienated many retirees that used to pay for meals at the café with cash. And considering one in ten Swedes admit to not being comfortable using digital payment systems, the government has been listening to the complaints closely.

“We need to pause and think about whether this is good or bad, and not just sit back and let it happen,” said Mats Dillén, the head of a Swedish Parliament committee studying the matter. “If cash disappears, that would be a big change, with major implications for society and the economy.”

Over the last few years, the government has changed its tune from supporting the move away from cash to requesting that the major banks and retailers keep supporting it. Sweden’s central bank, called the Riksbank, wants all the banks to continue supporting cash as much as possible. “When you are where we are, it would be wrong to sit back with our arms crossed, doing nothing, and then just take note of the fact that cash has disappeared,” said Stefan Ingves, the governor of Riksbank. “You can’t turn back time, but you do have to find a way to deal with change.”

Sweden’s banks are fighting back though, in an attempt to push cash out of the economy completely.

Digital currency is far more profitable for banks, as they get to profit from the fees attached to debit cards, credit cards and Sweden’s bank-developed payment app, Swish. Combined, those three are how 95% of purchases made by young adults are paid for.

After years of banks being terrorized by violent robberies, banks also much prefer to be protecting their money digitally. In 2008 there were 210 robberies of Sweden’s 1400 bank branches, but last year there were just two.

Sweden is also at the forefront of exciting new digital payment technologies, including microchips that have been implanted into 4000 peoples’ hands, enabling them to pay via high-five. Next year the central bank will begin implementing e-krona, the digital currency that may replace Sweden’s traditional krona.

If nothing else, Sweden has shown the world that a nearly cashless economy works, and it won’t be too long before other countries begin to see similar trends.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I do too with the exception of traveling through small towns. There are a LOT of businesses of all kinds that simply refuse to accept any kind of credit or debit card and when you look at the costs, you can hardly blame them; especially the mom & pop stores ......
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
I would not be surprised to see vendors offer a cashless and cardless option soon as well. It's possible to create a biometric database that will just link your bank to your biometric information. That's the easiest option as it requires zero tech savy and even if you forget everything you can still walk into any store and buy whatever you need.

The only problem then is that you have a database containing everyone's bio-metric data. You'd need to have everything stored encrypted and there needs to be an addon key that the system updates bio-metric files with so that even if people do crack the encrypted files they won't be acceptable to the system as the addon key embeded in the file doesn't match the current key the database is accepting. It might also be a good idea to give people the option to "rotate" their biometrics. In otherwords, the system would only take a small sample of all your biometric data at a time, and would swap that out with different biometric data after a certain period of time or maybe only if a data breach is detected.
 

ypsylon

TS Addict
In every day use I'll never stop using cash. Electronic is only for internet and nothing more.

By surrendering your right to cash you surrendering core value of privacy. On the other hand by using cash you're worst kind of economic thief because government cannot control your money. And I like that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Criminals (read: governments) spy on you the second you go electronic.

Like Twain said. Nothing is safe when government try to "help" citizens. Not your money, not your stuff, and certainly not your life. Keep that in mind.

Argument about robberies is retarded. Stolen money from banks is NEVER reported unless it's really catastrophic in nature. Banks don't do that to protect "reputation" which is 0 anyway. And every few months at least few major banks fail stress-tests. Which means that there is no money in the bank. That's very reassuring...
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
As a customer, digital is fine. But I can't see the smaller businesses being too happy about paying for that convenience. Having a payment system in place generally takes a percentage of the transaction (or a minimum fee per transaction), but cash doesn't have that.
 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
'Digital currency is far more profitable for banks, as they get to profit from the fees attached to debit cards, credit cards and Sweden’s bank-developed payment app, Swish. Combined, those three are how 95% of purchases made by young adults are paid for.'

And there it is. They want to charge more for your purchases.
 
There many businesses where use of cash helps saving great deal on taxes, as people under-declare all the time, like cab services, for example. So there will be lots of people going unemployed over this, because moving into no-cash business will eat into their profit so much, the business will no longer be viable.

I imagine tax people will embrace it. More bank control, and more assurance that poor stay poor. Slowly but surely, the society is moving into a slave camp, where the banks and the government want absolute control.
 
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Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
In every day use I'll never stop using cash. Electronic is only for internet and nothing more.

By surrendering your right to cash you surrendering core value of privacy. On the other hand by using cash you're worst kind of economic thief because government cannot control your money. And I like that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Criminals (read: governments) spy on you the second you go electronic.

Like Twain said. Nothing is safe when government try to "help" citizens. Not your money, not your stuff, and certainly not your life. Keep that in mind.

Argument about robberies is retarded. Stolen money from banks is NEVER reported unless it's really catastrophic in nature. Banks don't do that to protect "reputation" which is 0 anyway. And every few months at least few major banks fail stress-tests. Which means that there is no money in the bank. That's very reassuring...
Twain was from a different era. Nearly every 1st world country has universal healthcare, public education, ect. Decades of Americans are the result of the public education system, clearly government programs can and do work.

"Nothing is safe when government try to "help" citizens."

Then move to one of the areas of Africa that don't have a government if you like anarchy so much. I'm sure it'll work out great.
 

Teko03

TS Evangelist
Foreign countries still pushing towards the future quicker than the US I see. I recently took a trip to New Zealand and was surprised to see that practically every retailer / restaurant (small or big) accepted Pay Wave / Tap To Pay. There's only a handful of stores that support it home in the states.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Twain was from a different era. Nearly every 1st world country has universal healthcare, public education, ect. Decades of Americans are the result of the public education system, clearly government programs can and do work.

"Nothing is safe when government try to "help" citizens."

Then move to one of the areas of Africa that don't have a government if you like anarchy so much. I'm sure it'll work out great.
Or maybe there can be something between full government control or anarchy? The alternative to not having the govt screw up is not complete lack of govt. You don't amputate your foot when you sprain your ankle...anymore than rural Africa as the answer to poor govt.

Yes, decades of Americans are the result of public schools. But they always score lower than private and charter schools, and there's always a waiting list for school choice programs.

As for healthcare - if govt healthcare can work, it isn't working yet in the VA in America, or medicare/medicaid, and it isn't working well in Canada (which I'm familiar with because of family). The only people in favor of govt healthcare are the ones who haven't experienced it. Plus, America is over 10x bigger than most of those other countries. And do you really want those bickering children in Washington to have MORE influence over people's lives? According to gallup polls, more people disapprove of the govt than ANY private industry they took a poll for.

I do think America should cut back on cash though... I've read from experts that the vast majority of 50 and 100 dollar bills are used only for crime. We could stop printing those and only upset the drug dealers. I think we'll have cash for a long time though because America doesn't trust it's govt. and cash is private.
 
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madboyv1

TechSpot Paladin
I keep some cash mostly for gas (cash price is lower by not having the transaction fee), and several of my favorite hole-in-the-wall eateries are cash only.
 
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toooooot

TS Evangelist
You might feel like this post is unrelated to the topic but I think it might be important and helpful to someone.
Sometime ago, my relative got a "gift" card for her birthday. She asked for help activating it because it looked like a little bit unusual gift card. I went to their website and followed the steps to activate it. But whe nI tried to make a purchase eqaul to what the card was worth I didnt go through. After I called them, they told me that each transaction requires a fee of one dollar. So this "fake" gift card company was sellign these cards to people, clueles people like those who got this card for my relative. Then these scambugs would just sit and enjoy transactions fees coming from clueless customers who wouldnt check on their balance or would simply home it was a normal prepaid card.
This is just my +1 for the cash. We are losing our privacy with the speed of a gigabit internet. And I dont like it. I als odont like it that when I use credit cards, I always spend more. Like someone said, without seeing your money leaving your hands, you dont get the feeling and breaks on spending.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Or maybe there can be something between full government control or anarchy? The alternative to not having the govt screw up is not complete lack of govt. You don't amputate your foot when you sprain your ankle...anymore than rural Africa as the answer to poor govt.

Yes, decades of Americans are the result of public schools. But they always score lower than private and charter schools, and there's always a waiting list for school choice programs.

As for healthcare - if govt healthcare can work, it isn't working yet in the VA in America, or medicare/medicaid, and it isn't working well in Canada (which I'm familiar with because of family). The only people in favor of govt healthcare are the ones who haven't experienced it. Plus, America is over 10x bigger than most of those other countries. And do you really want those bickering children in Washington to have MORE influence over people's lives? According to gallup polls, more people disapprove of the govt than ANY private industry they took a poll for.

I do think America should cut back on cash though... I've read from experts that the vast majority of 50 and 100 dollar bills are used only for crime. We could stop printing those and only upset the drug dealers. I think we'll have cash for a long time though because America doesn't trust it's govt. and cash is private.
That should probably be specified then if someone is going to make a statement like

"Nothing is safe when government try to "help" citizens."

Governments are formed to help citizens, if they aren't doing that then they need fixing. Of course there can be bad government programs but you do not just throw the whole thing out because a few bad eggs. You get back to the table and rewrite the bad programs so that they fulfill their original mission.

You are going to have to provide data on your "private and charter schools are better" claim. According to what I've seen, whether your local schools are better or not completely depends on where you live.

https://www.niche.com/blog/charter-school-statistics/

Both Stephan hawking and Albert Einstein attended public schools in their respective countries, just for examples. I've see nothing that suggests that charter or private schools are better.

Every other first world country has universal healthcare, including Japan which has the world's highest life expectancy. Just for reference Canada pays 1/3rd per capita (that's per person) then what American's pay. You could double the cost of the Canadian system per person and you'd still see significant savings. I don't know so much about not liking universal healthcare either. I'm right next to the Canadian border. My father has worked with Canadian iron workers for decades now and they always find it funny when American's buy into the myth that there are waiting lines or death panels or that the quality of their care is poor. You have paid shills spreading stories and pictures of a single time there was a line outside a clinic or some other 1 off instances that happened in Canada. Meanwhile in America, people who can't afford healthcare die while American's continue to fall for the obvious lies they still can't quite seem to figure out.

"Plus, America is over 10x bigger than most of those other countries. And do you really want those bickering children in Washington to have MORE influence over people's lives? According to gallup polls, more people disapprove of the govt than ANY private industry they took a poll for."

I don't see how the size of the country is going to impede healthcare. You are going to have to explain why the size of the country would impact our quality of service.

That poll has always rated the government very low. It's had government in the 20s range for a long time now. It's very odd given that the actual government approval rating do not correlate to it at all. The footnote says they only poll 500 people but don't disclose any of their other methodology. At the very least you'd expect it to rise and fall when other polls show a consensus that government approval is higher.

"I do think America should cut back on cash though... I've read from experts that the vast majority of 50 and 100 dollar bills are used only for crime. We could stop printing those and only upset the drug dealers. I think we'll have cash for a long time though because America doesn't trust it's govt. and cash is private."

Of course they don't trust the government, a majority of Americans are too lazy to vote and simply complain about the issues that are likely a result of their very own inaction. Want to restore faith in the government? Use your voice and your voting power. The only reason the government got to where it is today is because of voter apathy and the resulting jerry mandering and other shenanigans.

You might feel like this post is unrelated to the topic but I think it might be important and helpful to someone.
Sometime ago, my relative got a "gift" card for her birthday. She asked for help activating it because it looked like a little bit unusual gift card. I went to their website and followed the steps to activate it. But whe nI tried to make a purchase eqaul to what the card was worth I didnt go through. After I called them, they told me that each transaction requires a fee of one dollar. So this "fake" gift card company was sellign these cards to people, clueles people like those who got this card for my relative. Then these scambugs would just sit and enjoy transactions fees coming from clueless customers who wouldnt check on their balance or would simply home it was a normal prepaid card.
This is just my +1 for the cash. We are losing our privacy with the speed of a gigabit internet. And I dont like it. I als odont like it that when I use credit cards, I always spend more. Like someone said, without seeing your money leaving your hands, you dont get the feeling and breaks on spending.
That's nothing new, a decent amount of Visa gift cards charge a transaction fee. FYI, this isn't a problem with digital cash, it's only specifically for those kind of gift cards.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
My father has worked with Canadian iron workers for decades now and they always find it funny when American's buy into the myth that there are waiting lines or death panels or that the quality of their care is poor. You have paid shills spreading stories and pictures of a single time there was a line outside a clinic or some other 1 off instances that happened in Canada.
I'm not a paid shill, but I have Canadian family members who have waited for 4 months for a test to see if they have cancer. In the US, if the Dr wants you to have a biopsy for cancer, you get it right away. Imagine not knowing if you have cancer for months! (and you know what that cancer is doing for that 4 months untreated?!) This is what a 'waiting line' actually looks like. It's the same thing that occurred at the govt run VA hospitals in the US, and people died waiting for an appt.

Ask your Canadian friends what they pay in tax. They have so many different taxes in Canada for just sales tax... they had to group them altogether into HST, called 'haromized sales tax' It's a 15% sales tax. A case of beer in Canada costs about $35 USD, compared to $17 USD here. They pay about $1.5 USD more per gallon of gas too. Their healthcare isn't free.

And speaking of myths... Most Canadians DO have health insurance. That govt plan doesn't cover medications.

Meanwhile in America, people who can't afford healthcare die while American's continue to fall for the obvious lies they still can't quite seem to figure out.
You are absolutely right, and my point exactly. Because in America people who can't afford healthcare get it paid for by the govt.
 
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S

senketsu

I'm in Western Canada and the healthcare system really, really, needs an overhaul.
If you are in an accident that requires immediate, lifesaving type help, the system is fantastic.
If you have other problems, the system is brutally bad. Long story short, took me 3 YEARS from time of injury to ankle surgery. I read about a lady that was upset about the wait time for a specialist. She had a picture of the appointment slip. Her appointment was 5 years ahead!
Healthcare is the largest single expense in the province and despite all this money, go into an Emergency room at our major hospitals and expect to wait generally from 2 to 12 hours. A friend recently needed help, the ambulance radioed the hospitals, beds full, beds full, beds full. She ended up in a bed in a hallway till she was discharged.
Frankly, I dreamed of having enough money that I could have flown to the USA so I could get some immediate care for some of my injuries. (imagine waiting 3 years for ankle surgery, the pain, over time it screws up your knee, the joints deteriorating and the freakin' pain. Then by the time they get to you, it's a little late for a great fix, so now you have an injury to manage for the rest of your life) I know that the Canadian Football League players in my city's team, when injured and need MRI or surgery, they go to the USA.
 
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