How long will Swedes continue queuing at cash machines to get their Kroner?
Point of view
Sweden will, in effect, become cashless - meaning that cash will cease to play any real role in society
The answer is, maybe not that long at all.
Sweden already uses less physical money than any other country and could be set to become the world’s first cashless society over the next few years.
Swedish Central Bank data shows that between 2009 and 2014 the total value of the banknotes and coins in circulation dropped from 11.3 billion euros to 8.5 billion euros.
Technology expert Niklas Arvidsson, an Associate Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, says cash may be phased out in a decade, or even earlier.
“Previously, I had always said that around the year 2030 Sweden will, in effect, become cashless – meaning that cash will cease to play any real role in society. But when I look at the developments over the last two years, I actually now think that it will happen faster than that,” he says.
Payments made by credit cards and mobile phone apps have been rising sharply.
Shop owners say having no cash in the tills reduces their risks of being robbed.
Shoppers, including 69-year-old Kristina Lewenhaupt in Stockholm, are enthusiastic too.
“I think it is great (that there is no cash). Especially from a crime perspective,” says Lewenhaupt.
Fellow shopper, 57-year-old Mikael Sandberg, agrees saying: “For me its fine. But I know there might be others that want to pay with cash.”
There are some concerns, particularly among older generations who did not grow up with hand-held technology, that it might be a mistake to say goodbye to cash too soon.
But there appears to be no stopping the digital payment revolution.