• Sweden's news in English
Swedes among world's biggest card users
A Swedish visa card. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Swedes among world's biggest card users

The Local · 29 Feb 2016, 17:18

Published: 29 Feb 2016 17:18 GMT+01:00

The Nordic country has already earned a global reputation for its move towards having a cash-free culture. Now, new research commissioned by the credit firm company Visa suggests that Swedes are not only using payment cards more often than people in most other nations, they are also using them for smaller amounts of money.
According to Visa, the average card purchase in Sweden amounts to 301 kronor ($35), while the European average is 459 kronor ($54). People living in Sweden also use their cards more regularly than those living in all other countries except Finland, the study suggests.
Swedes made an average of 207.1 payments per card in 2015, excluding cash withdrawals. In France, by contrast, the figure was 141.7. Finland topped the table with a mean figure of 242.7 recorded over the 12 month period.
"Together with the other Nordic countries, Sweden is among the world leaders when it comes to paying with cards," Visa's manager for the Nordics, Martin ten Houten said on Monday.
Visa, working in cooperation with the polling firm Sifo, also asked Swedes whether or not they would be willing to use a card to make a payment of less than 10 kronor.
65 percent of people asked said that they would, rising to 85 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds.
The global card company said it expected that figure to rise in the coming months as more stores start offering contactless payment, which means customers only need to tap a machine with their card in order to make a purchase, rather than having to key in their pin codes.
The mechanism is already popular in Poland and France as well as the UK, where passengers can now even make contactless transactions on busses in the capital as well as on the London Underground, instead of buying a travel pass.

A contactless card reader. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
However Visa's study comes amid ongoing campaigns highlighting concerns about the move towards a near-cashless society.
Critics have laid into banks for closing rural cash machines or refusing to handle cash at certain branches, while some stores and events are also banning any non-card payments.
"People are left out because they are not profitable: pensioners, immigrants, people in sparsely populated areas, former criminals. It's not fair," said former national police chief and head of the campaign group 'Kontantupproret' (The Cash Revolt) Björn Eriksson in an interview with the TT news agency on Monday.
Story continues below…
An online protest by the group has already attracted more than 3000 likes on Facebook, in a country of just under 10 million people.
"It annoys me that the four major banks are free to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to use cash so that we all switch over to cards, so that they can then raise the card fees and make even more money," Eriksson added.
Last year the campaigner told a conference at Almedalen -- Sweden's largest political gathering of the year -- that some people were taking drastic measures to deal with the shift.
“I’ve heard of people keeping cash in their microwaves because banks won’t accept it,” he said.

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

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB scanpix/TT & Kristin Streff/AP/TT

Sweden is neither a socialist paradise nor an internationalist hell. The truth, argues The Local's reporter Lee Roden, lies somewhere in the middle.

Sweden loses fastest internet crown
Good luck untangling those. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman /SvD /TT

Worse still, the new European king is Norway.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden tonight
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

The Local List
These are the brands Swedes love the most
What brands do the Swedes love the most? Photo: Per Groth/Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/Pontus Lundahl/TT

Revealed: Swedes' top-20 favourite brands.

Spotify launches new karaoke style streaming in Japan
Can karaoke help Spotify to crack Japan? Photo: DocChewbacca/Flickr creative commons

The Swedish streaming giant has taken inspiration from Japan's love of karaoke with its launch in the country.

US rappers' gig ends in 'bloodbath' in Stockholm
US rapper Ghostface Killah. Photo: Scott Roth/Invision/AP

A man ran onto the stage during a concert by US rappers Ghostface Killah and Killah Priest in Stockholm.

Border checks
Could Sweden's border controls soon be lifted?
The border control at the Swedish side of the Öresund Bridge to Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

The EU-approved six-month extension of controls in the south of the country will soon come to an end.

'Homemade bomb' on bus in Sweden was bike helmet
File photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A bicycle helmet sparked a bomb scare on a bus in Uppsala.

What's on in Sweden
Four don't-miss festivals in Sweden this week
Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. Photo: Stockholm Öl & Vin AB

Arab cinema, Gay Pride, out-of-the-box art, whisky and craft beer – what more could a person in Sweden possibly need?

Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »


7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: September 14th
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
jobs available