Sweden cash free country.
Sweden is an avangard when we talk about money because they have been at the forefront of innovation forever. Back in the 60s, the cash machine was invented and placed in London, and one week after, the first ATM in the country was inaugurated.
Nowadays the northern country had become the first cash-free country.
The ABBA pop band exhibition museum in Stockholm was one of the first spots to go entirely cash-free by charging entrance tickets with cards.
In the streets, there are only cards and smartphones with financial apps driven by fintech or financial technology. According to the Sveriges Riksbank, the proportion of paying with cash decreased from around 40 to less than 10 per cent between 2010 and 2020. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, the cash-free took a stronger path in all business areas; even in the street markets, the payment, for example, for fresh berries is paid with an app using the smartphone. E-commerce has grown potentially as it's contactless and makes it easy the shopping. Even kids at age of seven can have their debit card to make payments, but the parents are in charge of the movements in their account.
Financial technologies are the main innovations to increasingly gained ground in the money market moving forward to a cash-free society such as:
Swish started in 2012 as a cooperation between six of the largest banks in Sweden: Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Länsförsäkringar, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank and Sparbankerna own Getswish AB. The first goal of the app was to make it easy to split the bills when going out to eat with other people. As time passes, the company started to grow tremendously by improving its services and offering different payments methods: e-commerce and m-commerce to make payments online for both company and customer; QR function for all users to make payments; payment requests that enable users to remind their friends and acquaintances about a Swish payment; companies to make payouts to their customers; companies can charge customers via QR-code.
BankID was developed in 2002 to satisfy the need for e-services in society, and in 2003, the first BankID e-ID was issued. It is used to sign agreements, loan documents and tax returns. It´s an identification to be able to pay securely on the internet, log in with försäkringskassan (insurance fund) or collect packages from the postal agent.
iZettle, now Zettle by pay pal was founded in 2010, and the story began with the launch of the world's first mini-chip card reader and software for mobile devices, enabling small businesses to accept card payments; in 2018 became part of the PayPal family. Zettle makes modern point-of-sale (POS) products (zettle card reader, zettle terminal, zettle pos system) designed to simplify every workday taking payments and tracking every sale.
e-korona the Riksbank started a project in 2017 making a digital payment complementing the payment methods as an extension of cash, making them able to carry out in a digital wallet to make payments, deposits, etc.
Microchips store different kinds of data implanted under the skin of people's hands to carry out information such as house key doors, train tickets or bank cards. It has personal information like full name, e.mail address, home address, health records, phone number, and a face picture. It can be read by smartphone and paid like a card by contactless. This technology blurs the line between humans and machines making cyborgs.
There are different opinions on becoming a cash-free country:
The business didn´t lose cash.
The final selling cut is faster since you do not have to count the money in cash.
There are no mistakes in accounting.
Electronic payments mark the way to prevent money laundering, corruption and other criminal activities.
Tax recovery by reducing tax evasion.
Initiatives have been launched to support groups experiencing digital exclusion and to make the digital economy more inclusive so everyone can manage their day-to-day economics, regardless of conditions and age.
Substantially reduce transaction costs.
Swedish banks offer debit cards to young children from 7 years old, so a high percentage of the population is banked, tracked and traced.
Bank robberies as we know it will disappear.
The illegal drugs and weapons market will shrink.
The elderly society worries because they need to have the ultimate technology smartphone to be able to download the financial application for payments, even paying for a parking lot or using the public bathroom. They worry because sometimes they don´t know how to use the new technology.
People with disabilities may experience poor ability to use the technology that enables digital payments.
Experience occasional technical problems when paying in shops when the app is not working, the electricity and internet network has interruption issues.
International payments, especially to countries with currencies other than the euro can still be expensive and take time.
The Bank and even the government know every payment without the chance to remain anonymous.
Cash cannot be traced and can be used to avoid taxation.
There is a risk of the cash being stolen or counterfeited.
Card fraud can occur when a debit or credit card is read during payment.
Marian, born in Egypt and living in Sweden since she was ten years old, thinks living cash-free is easy, safe and simple. I don´t have a wallet anymore. I just go out with my iPhone for a walk, and if I feel like having a coffee or anything, I easily pay with my e-credit card or an app called swish that makes transfers to accounts or mobile numbers. I guess it´s different to have easy access than having 100 bills that must cover food shopping at that moment. I just tap my iPhone and credit card and pay.
Will cash-free become a worldwide trend? There are different opinions about the end of cash in this world, but what is certain is the evolution of technology that is taking different paths using more and more AI.
Are you engineering looking forward to implementing and making a more technological world? Sweden is the perfect place to grow and develop your ideas.