Sweden seems to want to be the first at everything. Besides wanting to make its capital of Stockholm the first to be entirely powered by renewable sources, it also recycles 99% of its garbage, a six hour workday and its Viking awesomeness, Sweden will soon enough be the first cashless country.
Reports show that Swedes use less and less cash in their transactions and most shops have the option to pay by card. Almost nobody caries cash on them anymore and even some bank branches don’t accept it.
“Our use of cash is small, and it’s decreasing rapidly,” says Niklas Arvidsson, an author of the study.
The rate of decrease is quite amazing: nowadays, there are just 80 billion Swedish crowns (about €8 bn) in circulation, down from 106 billion just six years beforehand – and the trend isn’t slowing down.
“At the offices which do handle banknotes and coins, the customer must explain where the cash comes from, according to the regulations aimed at money laundering and terrorist financing,” says Arvidsson. Any suspicious cash transactions are reported to the police.
This, off course can have some serious drawbacks. Sweden hasn’t yet solved the problem of homelessness and it is particularly difficult for them to get into the cashless system. Moreover, older people may have some difficulty adjusting to this, not to mention the many immigrants coming in. This may also pose a threat to personal privacy as the government or anyone who has the power to do so, can track all movements of someone within Sweden’s borders.