With widespread use of information technology and rapid decline in cash transactions, Sweden is on its way to becoming the world’s first cashless society, says a new study.
The widespread and growing popularity of the mobile payment system Swish is helping hasten the day when Sweden replaces cash altogether, said researcher Niklas Arvidsson, industrial technology and management researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
“Cash is still an important means of payment in many countries’ markets, but that no longer applies here in Sweden,” Arvidsson said in a statement released by the institute recently.
“Our use of cash is small, and it is decreasing rapidly,” Arvidsson noted.
In a country where bank cards are routinely used for even the smallest purchases, there are less than 80 billion Swedish Krona (SEK) in circulation (about EUR 8 billion), a sharp decline from just six years ago, when the total in circulation was SEK106 billion.
“And out of that amount, only somewhere between 40 and 60 percent is actually in regular circulation,” he said.
The rest is socked away in people’s homes and bank deposit boxes, or can be found circulating in the underground economy, the study said.
The result of collaboration between major Swedish and Danish banks, Swish is a direct payment app that is used for transactions between individuals, in real time.