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Money, Money, Money: Sweden to Become World's First Cashless Society by 2023

Money, Money, Money: Sweden to Become World's First Cashless Society by 2023


Sweden already leads the world in using noncash methods of payment and, according to a new study, could well become the world's first cashless society in just five years from now.

Last year, only a meager 1 percent of the value of all payments was made using coins or notes in Sweden. The smooth transition toward a totally cashless society could be completed already in 2023, when shops are likely to stop accepting cash altogether, a study from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the Copenhagen School of Economics suggested.

After extrapolating the decreasing use of cash against the rising cost of handling cash, researchers Niklas Arvidsson and Jonas Hedman suggested the world's first cashless society may become reality already on March 24, 2023, which they called the most likely critical point.

Swedish bank notes
In a related poll that Arvidsson and Hedman conducted among shop-owners, half of them subscribed to the notion that cash transactions will stop at around 2025. According to the research, however, it's the consumers who are the main drivers behind the change.

"At present, 97 percent of traders accept cash, but only 18 percent of consumer payments are made in cash. So it's the consumers that are the driving force," Niklas Arvidsson told the trade web outlet ComputerSweden.

However, consumers are being spurred into abandoning cash by banks and trade unions, in an effort to reduce the risk of robbery.

Additionally, cash management remains a significant item of expense in today's trade. Niklas Arvidsson pointed out that an average trader spends 113 minutes a day on in.

"This means a cost of SEK 182,000 [$22,500] per year for an annual cash turnover of SEK 4.6 million [$570,000], which is the average of the 741 grocery retailers surveyed. This corresponds to roughly 3.9 percent of each purchase, and it is a cost most merchants are unaware of," Arvidsson explained. By contrast payment by bank card only amounts to 0.4 percent of the amount, he pointed out.

Arvidsson attributed Sweden's prowess in using noncash methods of payment to Swedes' intrinsic trust in institutions.

"We are a small country that has had a stable democracy for a long time. For us, it's not a problem that the money is only visible on an internet site, we trust it," he explained.

Despite the progress made so far, there are still large groups whose readiness for transition evokes doubt. According to Arvidsson, these are the elderly people, people with disabilities, immigrants and small businesses.

As of today, most payments are by card. By contrast, the percentage of mobile phone payments barley registers, accounting for only 0.4 percent of all payments performed in Sweden, despite large investments by companies.

​Of late, many shops and museums, including tourist attractions, such as the Abba Museum, have switched to plastic-only payments. Björn Ulvaeus, the leader of the iconic pop band that reached cult status for its hit "Money, Money, Money" is one of the Nordic nation's most vocal supporters of the cashless trend, after his son lost a significant amount of money in a burglary. Earlier this year, Ulvaeus published an opinion piece in the tabloid newspaper Expressen advocating for a decisive switch to a cashless society.

Ironically, Sweden became to first European nation to print banknotes, which were introduced in mid-17th century by the Bank of Stockholm.

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Comment by DTOM on October 18, 2017 at 8:39am

@LP - I am sure that by this point the Swedish Govt will all be cosplaying as Muslims and will have introduced jizyah for the ethnic Swedes / Europeans.

Other scenarios are that the NWO step in with their offer of a new utopia, new economic system, universal wage (being heavily promoted at present) providing you willingly accept being chipped / marked / implanted etc.

Or the inevitable civil war which actually sees Europeans taking back their homelands.

Comment by Less Prone on October 18, 2017 at 5:57am

They will be broke too, with immigration of unadaptable, hostile fundamentalists being the main budget item.

Comment by DTOM on October 13, 2017 at 9:09am
That's optimistic...

There probably won't be any 'real money' left...and the region will be embroiled in civil war.
Comment by Bananaman on October 12, 2017 at 8:02pm

but 20 bucks is 20 bucks

Comment by Bananaman on October 12, 2017 at 8:02pm

I should add here i'm not gay

Comment by Bananaman on October 12, 2017 at 8:01pm

When i was a kid the Swedish students used to come on EF tours to Eastbourne, they were the hottest chicks ever, and nice too, even the blokes d do for a gobby, so sorry for what happened someone should be shot for destroying Sweden, when is someone gonna send these migrants back home with a trowel and some bricks

Comment by Bananaman on October 12, 2017 at 7:58pm

I noticed that cashless shit in the uk, hired a car they took from my oz account the bond, don't do cash, then returned it to that account on return of the car, smashed with fees and exchange rates both ways cost me an extra two or three hundred quid, i shit you not!, everything is discounted if you pay online just felt ripped off everywhere, uk bank took my money then wouldn't give it back because i had no address id, I was back there on holiday!, they took the money no fucking worries  though, fucking nightmare is right 

Comment by Old Denmark on October 12, 2017 at 6:49pm

I think within 2025 all of Scandinavia is cashless, it's basically an Orwellian nightmare here and people are loving it.


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