• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Opinion
Why Sweden should fear going cashless
Former Swedish Police Chief Björn Eriksson wants to keep using cash. Photo: Private

Why Sweden should fear going cashless

The Local/ms · 4 Nov 2014, 13:58

Published: 04 Nov 2014 11:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Nov 2014 13:58 GMT+01:00

"Banks have long been lobbying to remove cash from our communities, and they have come a long way. Four out of five purchases in Sweden are now made electronically or by debit card.
 
But the issue is far too important to be left in the hands of the private sector.
 
The state needs to make sure that people still have the right to use cash.
 
Last week saw Sweden's banks release their accounts and yet again we heard about their big profit wins. Swedbank for example announced a record profit of nearly six billion kronor ($811 million). 
 
One way that banks are trying to cut costs further is to phase out cash. Counter services can be wound down, printing costs are cut. What customers think about this idea is obviously not interesting for the banks, as long as they keep making a profit.
 
It's not just Swedbank pushing the idea of a cashless society, but also Nordea, SEB, Danske Bank and card companies Mastercard and Visa.
 
So far their plan has been successful and the banks will tell you that they are helping the environment by cutting cash production costs or decreasing the risk of robbery.
 
 

How much cash do you carry these days? Photo: Shutterstock
 
But little has been said about the major challenges that a cashless society brings. It infringes on people's privacy. It can make life difficult in sparsely populated areas. It can make a society vulnerable and increasingly open to sophisticated internet crimes.
 
How are disadvantaged people who currently exist outside the banking system supposed to survive? What happens to people's privacy when all transactions are traceable?
 
What happens when things go wrong? The Bråvalla music festival in Norrköping was supposed to be cashless this summer, but things descended into chaos when the payment system didn't work.
 
We need a public inquiry to look explicitly at reviewing the public's access to cash.
 
Story continues below…
Cash is needed by many companies, associations and individuals in order for society to function.
 
This should be an important priority for Sweden's new Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, Per Boland.
 
There must be a guarantee that we can continue to have access to notes and coins and we must be able to trust that our banks will allow this."
 
Björn Eriksson is a former national Police Chief , former President of Interpol and is currently Chairman of the Association of Swedish Private Security Companies
 
Would you like to live in a cashless society? Post your comments below.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/ms (news.sweden@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish state 'outsources jobs to spies'
The Stockholm headquarters of the Swedish Security Service, Säpo. File photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Foreign countries are trying to infiltrate the Swedish state by winning government contracts, it has been claimed.

What's on in Sweden
The four most stunning festival spots in Sweden this week
The Norberg Festival at an old ore mine. Photo: Peo Bengtsson

How about a party on an island, in an old quarry or a former mining camp? That's all on offer in Sweden this week.

Swedish police backtrack on 'gunfight' claims
The scene of the shooting on June 22nd. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Police have retracted a claim that a suspected gunman had fired shots at a patrol unit before officers shot him dead.

Crayfish poachers send Swedes' blood boiling
Has anyone seen this crayfish? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Oh no, not just before crayfish season!

Police hunt suspected gunman, 22, in Malmö
Rosengård Centrum. Photo: Simon Paulin/SvD/TT

Malmö police are looking for a 22-year-old suspect in connection with a shooting at a shopping centre in Rosengård.

Really old stinky cheese found on royal Swedish shipwreck
A diamond ring, the stinky cheese and gold coins. Photo: Lars Einarsson/Kalmar County Museum

Swedish scientists have discovered what is believed to be 340-year-old cheese on board a 17th century shipwreck.

Man charged with groping girls at kids' football cup
The accused in court. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

A 36-year-old sports manager whose team was sent home from Sweden after he was accused of groping three teenage girls at an international children's football tournament now faces trial.

Concern over barrage of fake Russian news in Sweden
The Russian propaganda site Sputnik News

Sweden is being subjected to constant disinformation campaigns by Russia and Isis, according to authorities.

'Let refugees go to uni while they wait': demand
A student at Stockholm University. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Asylum seekers in Sweden should be allowed to start university studies while they are waiting for decisions on their cases, it has been proposed.

The Local List
Ten Swedish phrases you only hear in summer
Let's work on that tan. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Summer always leaves foreigners baffled by Swedes' unique seasonal habits. Here's The Local's guide to navigating small talk when the sun comes out.

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,351
jobs available