Small Businesses In Sweden Try To Adapt To A World Without Cash

from WaPo

Sweden is serious about becoming a cashless society. How serious? Even the Abba Museum no longer accepts cash. Now that is serious.

Some researchers are predicting that cash there will be a “very marginal payment form” by 2020. Things are definitely trending in that direction. According to this BBC report, less than 20 percent of retailers now use cash. That’s half what it was just five years ago. Everywhere from public transit to tourist attractions — yes, even the Abba Museum — have also gone cashless. Since the government and banking officials announced their plans to reduce bank notes and coins in 2010, the circulation of Swedish krona has fallen by 40 percent.

Many believe that Sweden has succeeded in going cashless so quick because of its connected infrastructure, smaller population (10 million) and a higher level of trust by the people in the country’s banking system. A concern is whether this significant reduction in cash transactions will be a problem for the country’s small business owners. For some, it will be. But most seem to be adapting just fine.

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36 Responses to Small Businesses In Sweden Try To Adapt To A World Without Cash

  1. Steven Merrill October 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    This article discusses how the Country of Sweden is getting away from using physical currency for transactions. In the article it states that by 2020, it is predicted that there may not be a need for the use of physical currency anymore. Additionally the article states that currently less than 20 percent of retailers accept currency. People believe Sweden was able to do this because they have a good infrastructure as well as having a small population which is around 10 million people. As well, it states that the circulation of their currency has dropped over the years due to more electronic purchasing.

    This is pretty astonishing that this country is starting to go cashless with payment for goods. This precedent may be something that other countries throughout the world begin to catch on to. It will make things much similar to follow as well as easier for all to purchase things because now everyone will just need to have a type of card on them. Although, there are some downsides to this whole idea. For example, with cash payments, companies are less entitled to give details on how much they make in an entire year. Now with it being electronic, the government will be able to keep tabs on how much individual companies are making each year. Furthermore, with everything being electronic, if some kind of system fails, how will everyone be able to pay for items and services? Even more importantly, if the system is hacked, they will have to figure out a way to be able to track everyone’s certain personal information.

    I believe like this is an idea that looks great on paper but does not look good in real life. For example, Sweden’s population is 10 million people so relatively speaking it will probably be somewhat easy to transfer this idea to reality. While in comparison the United States for example has a population of 323 million people. How would the United States be able to go cashless with so many people and so much money in the country? It just seems to unrealistic for this to be able to successfully happen. As well, some people may prefer using cash especially elders who do not understand technology and using a “plastic card” is the same as physical cash. Overall, like stated previously this may be a great idea in smaller countries but will probably never happen in larger cities.

  2. Valerie Dorsett October 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

    My grandma always tells me to keep extra cash on me always, just in case I am ever in an emergency and need help that I will have cash if a place does not accept a debit or credit card. I have always listening to this advice because it is true that you will never know if there comes in a time when you need cash. Could you imagine if the United States decided that one day they would stop accepting cash as a form of payment? That would be absolutely crazy to me. However, these days, some people probably are already barely using cash as a form of payment. This situation is currently occurring in the country of Sweden. Recently, small businesses have no longer been accepting cash as a form of payment.

    Going cashless must be a decision that the country came to a while ago. The Abba Museum, which is a huge tourist attraction in Sweden has also joined on by no longer accepting cash. The article states that now 20 percent of retailers in Sweden no longer accept cash, and this number will probably be increasing over the years. Many people use their cards and now with the help of technology like Apple pay, people can now just scan their phones as a form of payment as some stores. The article states that, “Many believe that Sweden has succeeded in going cashless so quick because of its connected infrastructure, smaller population (10 million) and a higher level of trust by the people in the country’s banking system,” which makes sense because a smaller population makes moving away from cash an easier process. Currently, there are 323.1 million people in the United States as of the year 2016, which means that going cashless would most likely fail, or take a very long time.

    Technology is always impacting our society in ways that we never knew were possible before. These companies have given different types of people like freelancers, traders, merchants and panhandlers opportunities to accept many forms of payment. It is still early to predict when cash will go away completely but some people from Sweden predict it could be as early as 2030. People no longer carry around cash anymore so it may be even sooner than expected. Some people say that this is a plus because by going digital means that companies can have openings to their customer’s information. This includes email, which they can use to their advantage to send their customers coupons or news about their store. However, this does bring up some new privacy problems that may have to be addressed in terms of using a digital format. The article also claims that by not allowing cash payments, employees will not have to check to see if a bill if fake or not. However, with technology comes hacking and that means that peoples card information could get stolen. If this was to ever occur how would the economy respond? If a bunch of people were to get their information stolen and then had to freeze their cards, there would be a problem with purchasing problems in the future. Another downside that is stated is that the government will know how much money a company is making. The only question is, will this ever happen in the United States? Due to our high population, which I stated earlier I think that it would take a while for the United States to even get it done if we agreed to it. After the Equifax hack with everyone’s credit cards information being stolen I think cash should definitely stick around.

  3. Rebecca Hu October 12, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

    This article mainly discuss the trend in Sweden, where payments now are commonly made through technology. The economic system in Sweden is “becoming a cashless society” where “everywhere from public transit to tourist attractions have also gone cashless”. I believe this trend will continue to spread throughout the entire world. I believe the government would also prefer this kind of financial transaction. By making financial transaction on a device it leaves more trace, every transactions can be traced. However, with cash it is difficult to track down the flow of cash.
    Reading this story it reminded me when I was in China over the summer, everything become cashless. I believe in recent years, there is a trend in cashless payments. I can go on the streets in China just bring my device with me, with access to internet I can pay for my food in the restaurant or buy groceries in the supermarket with my phone. It is everywhere and the payment is basically scan a QR code and you can transfer the amount of money to another user through your virtual wallet. The most common app Chinese consumers uses are Wechat and Alipay. Wechat is a communication app, it works like messenger but it can also work as Paypal, Uber and Facebook. The other app is Alipay, which allows you to pay everything, your utility bills to your phone bills. Almost every phone in China have this two apps, they are an essential part of life. You can even see people begging for money with a QR code, means that you can transfer him or her money virtually. You can’t use the excuse you don’t have change.
    I can understand why people like it and the government promote this method. First it benefit both the customers and the shop owners. They don’t have to worry about change and going to the bank. Everything is digitalized, by the end of the day they can go through the app and see every transactions. It is easy for them to see sales and revenue. They can see their market, what they are doing well and what they should improve on. Second, the government can benefit. Because they know every transaction you made. Which indicates that there is no way of hiding any information from the government, pay your taxes like you should be.
    The article mentioned that business owner pay high card transaction fees and “it’s pretty tough to hide that information after a digital transaction has been completed”. This is the future, everything will be digitalize including currency. I think it is only a matter of time, the entire world will gradually approach to a cashless era. Everything will be exchanged through internet and technology. With cashless payment becoming a common way of paying, there will be changes in the card transaction fees. The apps I mentioned above does not have transaction fees with every transaction. It acts like a debit account where you deposit money from your bank onto your virtual wallet, and you can deduct money by sending money to someone else. United States are doing the same thing now. Many of you probably will be familiar with the app Venmo, it allows you to send money to people. This is exactly what I was talking about, this way of payment will be more and more comment. The real problem comes in with this level of convenience, what about possible security breach or hack like the Equifax case? How safe we are with our information and money?

  4. Shiyun Ye October 13, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    In this article by Gene Marks, he shows that how completed that the Sweden government is trying to make their businesses into no cash line. Personally, I agree with this movement since in this highly developed century, almost everything has been transformed into digital form. For example, the magazines, newspapers, online TVs and now currencies. People now enjoy the intangible services provided by the internet and latest technologies. However, it raised a question among Sweden’s small businesses. Can they survive through this big trend since their ability of cashless may not competent?

    Two aspects on how a cashless business can benefit the companies and the economy will be discussed. On the one hand, the small businesses can definitely survive through the adjustments by the government since they have to do it eventually. Moreover, a cashless business increases the ability for the companies to collect customer data such as e-mails and phone numbers. It helps them to promote their businesses easier. Although it includes another danger, which is the privacy right of customers because some companies might sell these data to other businesses in order to gain more profits, the no cash movement does not mainly cause this. On the other hand, some small businesses actually prefer cash trade because it is not recorded in the government system, then they do not need to report their cash tax. It is a highly risky and dangerous action to the economy in a country. In United States, some restaurants tell their customers that they can get a discount if they pay their bills in cash. Customers will certainly be happy if they can save some money from their wallet but it actually helps these restaurants get away from their responsibilities. Thus, Sweden does not only help itself catching up with the generations’ trend but also preventing the similar actions become prevails.

    However, no matter how great the decreasing of cash flow helps the economy and businesses, there are still some people claiming that they do not want this kind of change. In the business area, entrepreneurs complain about the high card transaction cost while their gross profit are often higher than most of their daily expenses. From the public opinions, some elders claim that they get used to paying in cash and are not comfortable of changing their way of the old method. There is one solution for the high card transaction cost, which is the alternatives people use called the digital paying apps. From my personal experience, some similar changes already happened in China: when I first came back to my hometown and was buying breads. Everyone in the line used their phones to pay for their bills while I was the only one who took out cash. People gave me weird look because it was just very uncommon nowadays in China to pay in cash. They usually use Alipay in their phones, not even credit cards. Although Alipay now has a legal policy on its transactions in the app, it is still much less than the regular card transactions.

  5. Andre Bakhos October 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    The phrase “cash is king” was coined for a reason, and that reason still stands today. No matter where you journey to within the borders of the United States, cash is usually accepted for almost every purchase. It is available to be spent immediately, unlike waiting for a card purchase to go through or a check to be validated, and is preferred by many people for this reason.
    In a small country such as Sweden, going cashless may work, as their economy and population are smaller, resulting in fewer businesses that exist in the country. It would allow them to streamline how they purchase products, by only using cards, which often offer rewards or incentives for the users when they use them. Using cards would also prevent counterfeiters from injecting fake currency into the economy, resulting in an imbalance of cash. In the United States, however, going cashless would not work for many reasons, and it is highly unlikely that we will be able to achieve this in the near future.
    To start, the United States is a global economic power with 320 million people in it, so it would be nearly impossible to corral nearly all of the people into abandoning a system that has worked for centuries, for something that many people have a not even adapted yet. In fact, many businesses do not even accept card, as they just do not care to use the newer systems, or simply do not want to pay high credit-card/debit card transaction fees. On small purchases made with a card, businesses will receive a bad return on sales, decreasing their profit margin, because the transaction fees will make up a large percentage of the purchase in comparison to purchases of larger amounts. This is especially detrimental for small mom and pop shops such as non-franchising small business owners, who need the highest return on sales percentage they can obtain, as they do not have the resources of a large chain company.
    Many parents also give their children cash instead of a card because the cash is going to be accepted almost everywhere, and they have the control over how much their child will be able to spend. With a credit card, a child may purchase nearly anything they wish, potentially putting the family in a bad situation with their credit score if they do not have the means to pay off the item. Another case where cash is king would be how many people sell objects at garage sales or to friends. Since these places are not business’, it would be highly unlikely that they would have a card scanner on hand when selling off their wares. They can just accept cash, and then deposit it in the bank for later use. Cash can also be converted from one form to another depending on what country you are in. If you are travelling to Europe, they may not accept your card in many places, but if you go to somewhere that trades currencies, you can exchange U.S. Dollars for European Euros.
    Yes, the world is trying to find a system that works everywhere, but cards will not be the answer to this, for the reasons mentioned above, and for some, the pure satisfaction and simplicity of pulling a crisp bill out of a purse or wallet. That fulfilling moment when a bill falls out of a birthday card from your relative, or when you insert some cash into a vending machine for a beverage, cannot be replicated by simply sliding a card against a piece of plastic. Cash enables no extra fees, no waiting period, and no card fraud. Nothing will be king apart from cold, hard, cash.

  6. Jimmy Bedoya October 13, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Technology has had a huge influence on the United States of America, let alone the world. Improvements ranging from a physical level to an economical level have been evident since the introduction of electricity. The lightbulb changed people’s lifestyle, telephones changed communication, and the computer advanced both of these key elements even more. The truth is since the industrialization, the world has evolved into a planet where everything must be done as efficiently as possible. These advancements have now become almost mandatory in order for there to exist proper functionality on political, societal, and economic terms. Politically, television and computers have improved political awareness as well as improving campaigning for many political parties. Economically, more jobs have been created, worker productivity has increased, and businesses have flourished as a result. Some businesses have adapted for the sake of technological improvements, while some have been born into the business world because of technology. On a societal level, people are now exposed to millions of information, communication with whomever, and are free to express themselves through any social media platform they choose. Whatever the case may be, it obvious that in today’s world, technology and one’s expertise regarding it, are necessary for doing whatever it is one is doing. It looks better on the individual to be technologically inclined and aware, and it is vital in the accomplishments and assets of any business or corporation. Businesses, however, utilize the tools provided by technology far more than any individual could. Reason being that though, it might be recommended for the individual to utilize technology; it is still a choice. On the other hand, businesses must use technology fully in order to function at its peak and compete with other companies who might not have the same technological advantage. It is important then, to make sure one and one’s business is not stagnant when it comes to technology, otherwise they will remain outdated while the world evolves.

    Because of technology, humanity has created a new form of carrying money known as debit cards and credit cards. These cards, have had a huge influence on the world, posing many benefits and very few costs to both the consumer and the business. For the consumer, the benefits include no concern about losing cash or being robbed, and saving the person valuable time. Benefits for the seller include providing more options for the consumer, collecting data such as phone numbers and email addresses for marketing strategies, and creating a safer working environment. The cons for the consumer consist of not being able to make purchases if the business only accepts cash or requires a minimum of price in order to receive the card, and the possibility of having the card stolen and used by the wrong person. The cons for businesses are only really an issue for small businesses. Small businesses who only accept cash can find themselves at a disadvantage if they are based in a cashless society, running the risk of going out of business. In Sweden, this is exactly the case. By the year 2020, it is predicted that Sweden will become a cashless society because of the direction it is headed in. According to the Washing Post, Sweden has less than 20 percent of its retailers using cash, which is half of what it was five years ago. This is a result of society evolving and the Swedish government announcing the reduction in banknotes and coins in 2010. Some small businesses are now in a panic because of the likelihood that they will go out of business, while others are already adapting. In my opinion, though credit/debit cards may pose more benefits than cash might, it is important to find the balance between the two. These cards though deemed efficient for many individuals and businesses can hurt the economy and a number of jobs available if small businesses are taken out of the picture. Small business would not flourish because of their lack of proper marketing and inability to pay for high transaction costs. It is important to find the balance so that owners of small businesses, who have dedicated their lives to their businesses, can make a living and create more jobs for people in the process. These small businesses are also vital in supplying small towns with all types of goods and services. I believe Sweden should find the balance as America has to avoid a high unemployment rate if their population were to increase, and if problems were to arise regarding technical difficulties, businesses can continue by taking cash transactions. In anything we do, a balance is always key. If there existed a business in cash and credit/debit cards, no one would suffer and everyone would flourish at his or her own paces.

  7. Chris O'Handley October 13, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    This article discusses the progress Sweden is making in becoming a “cashless society”. Since 2010 when government and banking officials announced their plan to reduce their production of physical money, much of the country has started making adjustments to adapt to a potential life without cash. BBC reported that less than twenty percent of Swedish retailers use cash a number down fifty percent from five years ago. Sweden has been able to make strides to become a cashless society quickly but there have been a few downsides to this. The largest one being the affect it has had on small businesses. The obvious problem going cashless presents is that it is harder for small businesses to make money because there are less forms of payments they can accept. Still, most owners seem to be adapting well to the new trend and have even pointed out the opportunities could present. With most of the country paying online, business owners can learn more information about the spending habits of their customers and use this information to develop their sales around. Plus, paying online gives customers the freedom to browse more stores and find the best deals. Imagining a society without cash is difficult for me because I have always tried to make sure I have at least some cash on me whenever I go somewhere just in case. At the same time, in the last few years I have made a lot more purchases with a debit or credit card than I have with cash. I think that is the case for most people now so I guess it is not too hard to imagine a society without cash. Still, I feel like there are still a few advantages to having some cash instead of relying solely on an electronic funding system. The first being that if you were in an emergency and could not access your bank for any reason and you did not have any cash you would be out of luck. Another reason why relying solely on an electronic fund would be bad is a lack of privacy. Whatever system you use will have records of all of your transactions all the time and will know exactly how much money you make and how much you have in total. This could also be problematic if that system somehow got hacked and someone had access to all the money you have in the world. This seems a little far-fetched but in today’s age where we have seen even the ‘most secure’ companies like Equifax get hacked I would not rule anything out. On the other hand, for the average person having all of your funds accessible with the click of a button or swipe of a card is very convenient in most situations. This looks to be the way that everything is heading in today’s age of developing technology but I still think it will be a long time before we see the United States go completely cashless.

  8. Brian Ayoub October 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm #

    Sweden transitioning towards becoming a cashless society is not surprising at all. If anything I am more surprised that countries like the United States are not leading the charge to become cashless. Less than 20% of retailers in Sweden accept cash. I would love to live in a country that uses credit and debit cards primarily. Ever since I got a credit card, I have rarely used cash. Sometimes if I go to a local deli, they only accept cash. I can understand why they only want cash, however more and more people are carrying little to no amounts of cash on them, and if I want a sandwich but do not have cash on me, they are not getting my business. Since new technologies are advancing like online banking and Apple Pay, the use of cash is becoming limited and outdated. Sweden is smart for advancing their country to a cashless society because it shows that they are willing to accept the changes that are going around the world regarding technology. By announcing their plan to reduce bank notes and coins in 2010, the circulation of Swedish krona has fallen by 40%. I think this can be a problem for local business owners who are not proactive and not able to adapt to changes around them. If owners are not tech-savy, they may not be able to understand how to use applications like Swish and iZettle. I know from being a college student, we pay each other through mobile applications like Venmo or PayPal much more frequently than by cash. This is why I believe the United States can definitely handle being a cashless society. If anyone can adapt to new technologies, it is the people of the United States. However, I do not think we will be able to fully transition as quickly as Sweden did. This is because our population is much larger than Sweden’s. If we estimate the same rate of transition but proportion it to our population, it would take at least 30 times longer. I also believe that Sweden is much more unified as a country and believe in their countries banking system more. If the United States announced an idea of a cashless society, the country would be at a massive divide. I like the idea of a cashless society because it allows freelancers to market their businesses better by collecting data such as e-mail addresses and other things such as average amount of sales per hour for example. It is much tougher when sales are split in two forms like cash and credit card. Also, employees can avoid being bamboozled in sales, and citizens can avoid being easily robbed of cash, which is a big problem in the world, especially Europe. The problems I see with becoming a cashless society is high card transaction fees and privacy issues. The government can easily spy on business and see how much each business is earning. However this does stop businesses from committing fraudulent activities since all transactions are recorded online. Also, some small business will have issues coping with card transaction fees and take away the ability to profit if they have to give up that money for the fees. However, this is something that is a small issue in hind sight, and a cashless society does look to be the future for the world.

  9. michael dias October 13, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    The world has always existed in the belief that money should be physical. Whether in coins of precious and non-precious metals (gold, silver, copper), or bills with images printed on them; this has been the form of currency for the past thousands of years. To see if suddenly vanish may seem alright at first, but the long term effects could be substantial. To think of living without using any form of bill or coin seems utopian, but may also not be as great as imagined. As technology advances, so do people, both with good and with bad intentions. You cannot hack a cash register, but an atm machine or a credit card scanner can be, easily (to the right person). I would not trust all i earn and have to a bank that operates through technology that can be accessed by anyone willing to go the distance, as seen in many cases like Hamza Bendelladj, who hacked into 217 banks and stole over $280 million.
    He later donated all of this money to Palestinian charities, which although not a criminal act, was done with the use of illegally obtained money. Would I be mad if my money went to charity? Of course not, if I consented to it. Also, it is always good to keep money on hand in case of emergencies, or “rainy day funds”.
    Furthermore, there are now small machines that can be put into a credit card slider in order to copy and obtain a person’s card information. With the rise of bank and card machines, a rise in theft and attempted theft will also rise. There is no maybe; where there is good, there is always bad, inevitably. There is not much a regular person can do about this, as most of the time they won’t know that they are swiping their card into a trap. It does not matter how “safe” Sweden considers itself; if the United States can be hit with cyber hacks from accross the country from areas like Korea and the Middle East; Sweden is definetly not safe.
    As much as I like and abuse my credit and debit cards, I cannot see myself living without cash bills in my wallet looking pretty and decorating it. There is just a feeling of safety when you have cash available, and a card or virtual method cannot replace this, no matter how hard they may try.

  10. Katie Marchesani October 14, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

    Technology is changing the world and this is a prime example. Sweden wanting to go completely cashless presents a few problems. Moving towards a society that only uses credit cards or mobile apps to pay for services/products will cause people to never have cash on them. This is an issue as there are certain situations where cash is needed. For instance, it does not seem feasible to only be able to pay for small purchases with a card. If businesses in Sweden want to be cashless, then they would not be able to have a minimum for using a credit card. Therefore, people would be paying for products as simple as a bottle of water with a card. This presents a problem as there is a high cost that businesses have to pay for credit card transactions. Another problem that arises is not everyone has a credit card or a smartphone with apps. A large population of people that would not be accepting of this change is older adults and the elderly. These groups did not grow up in a technology era and are accustomed to using cash. There are also issues with trying to rely on technology all the time. Phones can have glitches and it may cause check-out lines to back up if people are having problems pulling up apps on their phones.

    After being hit by multiple storms, the island of Puerto Rico was destroyed. This created a mass amount of problems, one involving issues of paying for food and supplies. For example, what was “almost impossible to find was a place that accepted credit cards” after the hurricane hit (Levin). Systems at businesses were down and this caused them to only be able to accept cash. While this is an extreme type of situation, it does show the need to have paper cash at times. In a cashless society, people would not have cash on hand for emergencies. Lastly, businesses can make changes to adapt with advances in technology, but not allowing customers to use cash is not the best idea. It should still remain an option like it is in the United States.

    Levin, Jonathan. “Cash Is in Short Supply in Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico.”, Bloomberg, 25 Sept. 2017,

  11. Juliana Martinez October 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    The idea of countries expanding their ideas of going “paperless” imposes a lot of questions and thought about what is to come in the future. For the first world countries, such as Sweden, eliminating cash form the system, to solely using card transactions, seems like the logical “next generational” thing to do. But how will that affect the way people interact internationally? Will this cause a disadvantage to the countries that cannot go cashless? Or, once all countries have been able to imply this new way of business, will there be an effect on the currency market? The idea of countries potentially going cashless may also posse a large threat to all immigrants throughout the world. How will this large population of people all around the world be able to receive money and then spend it on their basic needs, if they are not legally allowed to work for the money they would deposit into the bank account? Lastly, although most public and business exchanges are already done electronically, would the full illumination of cash open a wider door for new international currencies, such as bitcoins, to enter the market? If so, how will this affect thing such as individual countries economies and the global market?

    Inevitably, any country that implements the cashless system will face similar problems, as Sweden is facing today, such as decrease in privacy and increased expenses. All though these problems mainly affect small businesses, a larger threat may be imposed on the consumers and the global market.

  12. Meghan Healy October 19, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

    Overtime, humanity has adapted to use what is easiest and what makes the most sense. It makes sense that over the years, we might not use the same form of currency that we have always used since the development of our nation and earlier. Money has inevitably evolved since we first started using it. As early as 5,000 BC, metal objects were used as the standard form of payment. Around 700 BC, we then used coins with fixed values. Eventually, we moved on to use gold and silver. Finally, in the 1860s, paper money was issued.

    Today, we have technology that plainly did not exist in the 1800s. With the increasing innovation of technology, we have become an industrialized society. Nowadays, nearly everything is done electronically. With this automation, there is a decreasing need for the use of cash as a form of payment. At the rate we are adjusting, there is a large chance that we will not be using physical currency by the year 2020.

    According to the article, Sweden is becoming a cashless society, with less than 20 percent of retailers now using cash. In addition to businesses, public transit and tourist attractions have stopped accepting cash altogether. With the easier accessibility and transportability of plastic cards, cash has been deemed as useless.

    In addition to credit and debit cards, businesses have the ability of using apps for payment. As mentioned in the article, different apps such as Swish and iZettle give small businesses numerous options for accepting payments. With these apps, these businesses can wipe out the use of cash completely. Nowadays, virtually everything is done through apps on our smartphones. We have the capability of storing our credit card on our phone for use. The Chase mobile app allows you to deposit checks into your account by taking a picture of it. Likewise, our forgetfulness of bringing cash with us everywhere has been forgiven with the creation of Venmo. With this app, no one can use the “sorry, I don’t have any cash on me” as an excuse. If a hangout with friends turns into a spontaneous decision to go somewhere involving a payment, we are blessed with the ability to pay our friends with a few clicks on an app. If people standing behind a table on the Seton Hall green ask for a donation, “sorry I don’t have any cash on me” is meet with “don’t worry, we have Venmo.”

    As stated in the article, a fruit and vegetable stall owner said that sales are better when people can pay by card since no one carries cash anymore. Compared to the slimness of credit cards, cash seems so bulky and impracticable. As a result, we sometimes forget to carry cash with us everywhere we go. Businesses can also renounce cash for marketing purposes. In most stores, when one pays with a card, they ask you for your email address. They then send you countless emails advertising various products and offering deals. Demolishing the use of cash as payment seems categorically advantageous. However, small businesses also see some downsides to a cashless world. For example, they do not want the government to know exactly what they are earning. If every transaction is done through the computer and not through cash, then all of the earnings of the business are digitally recorded. In addition, these businesses have to pay high card transaction costs. While our tech-savvy society seems beneficial, everything comes with drawbacks. Regardless, more countries around the world surely might follow Sweden’s lead and become a cashless society.

  13. Lucas Nieves-Violet October 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

    It is interesting to see that countries have started to move toward this initiative of getting rid of currency. I personally hate carrying cash, my wallet is the size of a credit card and therefore not meant for carrying cash. I usually use apple pay , my debit card or my credit card to pay. The minimum cash I carry around in my wallet is usually a $20 dollar bill in case of emergency. Not only is getting rid of money a good initiative it also diminishes the amount of paper being used therefore while it may not be much it still helps the environment as the use of paper is reduced.
    As the world evolves it is becoming more common to see a disappearance in paper. Electronics and money go hand in hand they are easier to use, the swiping method and the chip method have revolutionized the use of credit card and money exchange. David Ramsey an American Businessman explained in one of his speeches that the fact, the action of physically using cash hurts a person mentally, since they can see the money they have, being taken away. On the other hand using credit cards, is much less painful as it simply requires swiping. While we are able to see the receipt and the money being spent the process swiping has a much different feeling and mental approach to our psyche.
    The article claims that 20% of retailers now use cash which is a huge increase for a population of ten million. Since The countries is of smaller size it is easier to impose new laws and restrictions on currency. Additionally the Swedish currency has indicated to have fallen by 40% meaning that it is less likely that the people living there will find a business or restaurant where they will be able to pay cash. If customers seek to pay cash it is still possible however the deals on goods, and commodities are more common with the use of credit card therefore again pushing away the use of cash. Changing to a world of credit card is not only the positive side for Sweden the companies behind those transactions are also making a great profit. As mentioned in the article companies like Swish and iZettle are making huge profits for allowing the transaction to be done on their platform since they are the one who organize the service.
    While it may be all and good on one side, there is another side of the population some store owners specifically who are not too thrilled with this change. The reason behind this is because the credit card companies charge the store owners a fee every time a credit card is swiped. In a way they may be losing money. Moreover a point they make is that since all currency is virtually everything is more clear when it comes to how much they made and how much the government needs to tax them. There is no way for them to keep money for themselves anymore since the amount of money they make is digital. The fact that everything is digital makes illegal activities with currency less frequent and less likely. It thus fore makes the money being traded in the country easier to trace and diminished criminal activity across the country all over.

  14. Leah Hannawacker October 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

    Sweden is the first country to adapt into a world of credit card sales instead of cash. Small businesses are adapting to using credit card sales for their transactions. With businesses going cashless, the circulation of the krona has fallen by 40 percent. It is to be said that the success of this movement in Sweden is credited to the fact that they have a small connected infrastructure with a low population and a high level of trust in their people. There are pros and cons to adapting to this new way of shopping. The applications iZettle and swish are mobile technologies that many businesses are using to help accept various payment methods. The businesses such as freelancers, craft-makers, traders and merchants are using these in their small business’s. By going cashless it is easier and faster to accept offers and payment from customers, as well as creating a safer environment for those who no longer have to worry about keeping a till in the register. Some cons to this are that those of later generations may have trouble with adapting to the new technology. Also, it is harder for businesses to lie or hide information from the government when all transactions are documented.
    In my opinion, I don’t think a lot of people carry cash with them anymore. If I did not have a job with the option to leave with cash because of gratuity, I would not carry cash on me. With all the credit card companies offering multiple cash back options on transactions, a lot of people are using credit cards to get rewards. Also, most people are now not carrying wallets and putting their cards in their phone cases which makes carrying cash a hassle. I think that going cashless is a good idea and will help decrease error on the business end. Without having to count the drawer at the end of the night with cash, individual business will have less counts of being under due to incorrect change that is being given back to the customer. The only downside is the fees that the company may have to pay by using the credit cards as transactions so much.

  15. Arielle Fortes October 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    There was once a time when there was no paper money in the world. Instead humans got by with other methods. One such method was bartering. This was the one of the earliest forms of commerce. With bartering two individuals discuss how to trade one type of goods or services with each other. There were a few benefits to this transaction as each person got what they wanted on both sides. However, there were always some troubles with approximating how much of another good was worth another type of goods or service. Also, the individual has to make sure that they had what the other individuals wanted. Then we moved on to cash. However, now cash is also being left behind in some places. Cash itself is worthless when none acknowledges it. However, it meant something once someone in power said that this piece of paper was worth something and specified the amount that it is worth overall. Now there is a new way to pay for money and many people find that is better for cash for them. This new way of paying for items is using credit cards to pay for what people would want. In Sweden more people are making this change.
    I think that this way of payment does have a lot of risk involved with it and I do not think that this transaction will spread to other places very quickly because Sweden has more special circumstances for this new change. Sweden is not a very large country by today’s standards with a population of only around ten million people. This makes for only about .13 percent of the world’s total population. Also there is higher trust in today’s banking system which cannot be used in many countries because they distrust their home countries banking system. One of the countries that would not be able to implement this system because of this reason is America. Americans do not hold to much trust in their banking system for a multitude of reasons. Some people dislike that the banks leave a digital trail of the money you own. The very fact that people can know whenever or how much money you use on a daily basis, whether it is paying utility bills or paying for food. Some people also dislike how banks can use many different types of fees to make money off your accounts. They make extra money off transaction fees and overdraft fees. For people who do not make that much money, having all the extra fees that comes with using a bank just doesn’t seem worth it to them. There is also a law that says that the Federal Reserve can allow for account to be frozen if they find it necessary. Or for some people they just don’t see a reason to trust the banks so they would not be opting for just using credit cards or debit cards all the time. Of course there are some upsides to not using any cash. Cash being made out of paper can get wet. Cash can also be stolen and there is not much of an option to make sure that you can receive your cash back if someone had stolen your wallet. With credit cards, if someone steals it you can simply stop the credit card and not use your hard earned money. Also a great deal of cash takes up more space in your wallet then if you carried credit cards so then there would be no problem with space.

  16. Ameer Richmond October 28, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    The evolution of currency is an on going change that will never stop. Sweden is already ahead of the curve on the next evolution. Deciding to get rid of physical currency and switching to only credit has it’s pros and cons. They have already made many improvements on the economy, and they are only going to keep improving on this new adapted system. Using this method that have already moved currency changes to 20%, which has doubled from where it was around five years ago. Looking towards the future it is only a matter of time before Sweden is completely away from cash transactions. It is very interesting to see this kind of change for a country as a whole. Normally this would have to take longer to have a country to adapt to such a method. But due to the population of the country, this was not too hard for the country. Real Improvement can come about this, but only until the country as a whole sees the benefits of this change to come.
    There are many benefits to this and many to which I agree with. The less cash in the country means that it is safer for the environment, no paper less pollution. This can also mean the crime rate goes down, which is always a plus. Less robbery in a country is good when there are no cash trails. Something they need to monitor and make sure they are ahead of the curve is fraud. Going digital can easily be picked up and scammers are still on the high rise in the world. Along with that, they must consider the older businesses, transition can be hard for them. But I will look forward for the future changes Sweden will be making with this. Who knows, maybe this change can push into other countries of the world.

  17. Joane L October 28, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    This approach to eliminate the use of cash to complete transactions raises a few concerns around fraud. We have witnessed a number of credit card and debit card breaches in recent years. According to facts, these incidents have gained a 37 percent increase between 2016 and 2017. Sweden has accidentally leaked personal details of nearly all citizens in July 2017, due to a data breach involving the Swedish Transport Agency uploading IBM’s complete database unto an icloud server which then exposed details on every vehicles operating in the country, even military and police registrations. I can understand how this transition will help monitor security issues that involve businesses with large cash transactions, but how will it protect the consumers to only rely on using their cards instead of cash, with the increase in hacks and scams? This will allow consumers to dispute charges even more often, putting small businesses at a greater risk. On a positive note, businesses can easily track down their clients and the source of funds to resolve transaction issues.
    Printing monetary notes have caused more problems to the economy of any country thus far, allowing digital payments to take effect can boost the economy and eliminate an inflation. However, scammers will be busy looking for ways to hack businesses, that will cause a negative effect on the economy as well. Since this new approach in under way until 2030, Sweden should spend time and money looking for a better way to reduce the chances of a card breach scandal.

  18. Daria Di Paolo October 28, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

    The idea of being cashless is interesting to me, and something to be welcomed. While I have worked in a supermarket, we tend to deal with various payment methods, cash, check, credit (or debit), and of course government programs such as food stamps, or WICC. Food stamps were also given a card, while WICC was paid through a check. I remember the days that people would have trouble with paying by card, and sure, it could be annoying when there may be a chip malfunction, or that a person has no money on their card, but at the same time, cash was just as annoying. Especially when cash is handled in high amounts. I remember a time when someone wanted to get two hundred dollars’ cash back, which is the maximum that any register can give, and, my till didn’t have enough. It was then just a long waiting game of the manager punching in money into the machine to then just handing me the money to give the customer. As well as other workers have been known to either go over their till or under. Meaning that they either gave too much cash in change, or too little. Which, if everyone just went by with card, there would be no problem or worry about going over or under the amount, since there would be no money that’s being handled by the cashier.

    By a business perspective though, my supermarket was one of many, they could pay the rates that it takes when using the machinery. They have the money and the funds if a card reader is broken, or if worse, hacked or toyed with to take people’s information. While small businesses, do not have those funds. Small businesses in my area only go by cash, why? Since it’s just easier for them to handle and no fear of the rates for transaction costs, which could eat away their profits, or worse, make them raise the price. Or as the article stated, wanted to fudge their numbers to keep away from the government, which, could be fudged whether it’s in the form of cash or not.

    I believe that being cashless would cause less grief in the end since cash is so easy to steal and to take. While paying on a card, an employee that’s working on the register can’t shortchange a person and pocket the money, it automatically goes into the system. There is no, real third person who’s interacting with the payment, just the person who owns the card, and the company that is receiving the payment. Making it easy, simple, and fast. If there was an opportunity for this to happen in America, I would gladly take it. But for now, the only solace I have it that people are able to pay through their phones, making it much easier for not only the customer to have another easy and cashless way to pay, but I don’t have to worry about counting the change when receiving and giving back the money. Honestly, pennies are terrible to count, especially when someone is only paying through change. At that point, it’s just easier for the customer and to me for them to just deposit it in a bank, and then pay by card.

  19. Elliott Otmani October 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    It is fascinating to see how technology impacts the world in every way, whether it is about media, in the workforce, transportation… and money. The article is presenting an interesting issue about the cashless society because it is very challenging to simply imagine a society without cash. Cash money represents the actual money, the first thing we picture in our head when thinking of money, no one directly thinks of digital money, it is abstract. Sweden is impressive by doing it and moving on that quick, but as it is mentioned in the article, it concerns a small country (not more than 10 million of population) which is also most likely an advanced country in the world (ranked second in the world in terms of quality of life according to the us news website, 6th for overall ranking of best countries in the world). Indeed, being a cashless society offers a lot of advantages, as stated in the article, especially to do business because it is way easier when everyone is connected in a digital process of payment. However, I do not think being a fully cashless society is a positive issue for a country. Being over technological also has dark sides, I mean what is our second option if technology fails at some point? Having a society completely connected can easily become a society taken in hostage by technology when it is not working. Also, I think it is a brake of entrepreneurship because most of startups do not necessarily have the money to spend in technology right from the start. A cashless society clearly offers strengths to a society (for example I do think it is good to know how much the government is spending or how much a politics is making which is easier to find out with a digital society), but my main point is that it can be a brake to the creation of small business, or the maintain of some of them. In addition, not all of the countries in the world are ready for it, and in a globalized current world it can be such an issue to deal with a cashless country. I would say that it is better to have a cashless society on the major part, but it cannot be a 100% cashless society, cash has its strengths as well and cash money represents the money that we picture, it is a symbol.

  20. Caitlin Gardner October 31, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    Sweden is trying to become a cashless society. Today, less than 20 percent of retailers use cash. Sweden’s small population, connected infrastructure, and citizens’ high trust make it possible to go cashless. Some people worry that the new form of exchange will hurt small, local businesses, but so far statistics show that there has not been a significant impact on them. Technology has made it possible by offering suppliers several options of payment. Now, paying for goods and services is a faster process for consumers. Since people are not carrying around cash, the crime rate for things illegal activities such as pickpocketing and theft has decreased significantly. A disadvantage to going cashless would be the high fees that correspond with card transactions. If Sweden is successful in going cashless, they may influence other countries, particularly other scandinavian countries and the U.S., to take the same route.

    Personally, I would not expect this trend to be successful in any country, especially America. Too many small business would suffer the consequences of high taxes or card fees, and would not be able to survive financially. Technology influenced many aspects of the American lifestyle, including communication, employment, and now the economy. Citizens are now being indirectly punished if they are unable to keep up with the growing technology industry. This lifestyle change tends to affect older generations because technology is a whole new concept to them. Millennials and other young generations are being born and raised in a society that already uses technology every day and makes using it fluently a requirement in order to survive and become successful. As a result of this, the only way the U.S. economy could become cashless is if this new form of currency is held off until the now young generations age and replace current seniors. Going cashless in the U.S. may take much longer than the article predicted.

  21. Alison Amen November 1, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

    Technology is slowly taking over our world and the first country is Sweden. By one measure, Sweden already lives in the future and is one step ahead of all other countries. Sweden recently became almost fully a cashless society. Only 2% of the countries transactions are done in cash. Sweden is starting to lean towards being a cashless society and has succeeded so quickly because of its small population of people, connected infrastructure and the high level of trust in the country’s banking system. As this technology advances, so will society around it. By 2030, Sweden believes that it will be an entirely cashless society. These new technologies have given freelancers, craft-makers, traders and merchants many different options for accepting payments. However, for small business owners can face challenges as well as opportunities by going completely cashless. By going cashless, small businesses have been able to reduce the amount of illegal activity that goes on by creating a safer environment for the employees. On the downside, allowing customers to pay in cash allows them to have more options, for example if they do not have their credit card on them and want to pay cash or they simply do not want to charge their card. Also, most business owners do not want the government in particular to see what the business is earning in profit and income.

    Personally, I do not believe that a cashless society is a good idea, especially in the United States. People these days rarely use cash. They carry around credit cards and constantly use them rather than cash because it is more convenient. My dad always tells me to this day to carry cash on me always because you never know when you will need it. Some stores only accept cash or certain types of credit cards. If the United States slowly started becoming a cashless society, I do not think it would last long. Businesses thrive off of cash and would have to suffer consequences if they were forced to be cashless. Also, so much more credit card fraud would take place if people were forced to use their cards all the time. Even though America has the technology to go completely cashless, Americans will still pay cash about a third of the time. Going cashless in Sweden is not a big deal because people trust their government and banks. Here in the United States that is a complexly different story. Online privacy concerns also make people fearful as well as they are distrusting of the government. Overall, going cashless in the U.S may take much longer as Americans would highly disagree with the idea.

  22. Rubi Leyva-Rodriguez November 3, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    Imagining a cashless America 15, or even 10, years ago would have been a far-fetched idea. Nowadays that idea is no longer as crazy as it once was. Generally, it is very rare that any business does not accept credit, albeit the small mom and pop businesses. Completely converting to a cashless society, however, is something that I don’t believe America is ready for.

    As the article points out, Sweden’s small population and great trust in the country’s banking system allows for the country to allow a cashless society. In opposition, America’s much larger population and given the recent Equifax cyber-security breach would impose challenges to adapt such an economic system. Transferring everything that is financial online puts consumers at the risk of hackers and other malevolent beings. Illustrations of how much of a nuisance this can potentially be: think of a time when you or someone you knew lost their wallet or had their credit cards frozen due to potential theft. Cash in these instances is the last resort, but if the society is cashless that creates a whole new set of problems.

    It is interesting how technology has influenced the way we have changed our thinking of one of the most valuable resources in the world: money. In the United States, small business sometimes only accepts cash to manipulate the balance sheet in order to gain tax advantages. Moving the economic system to completely digital would put these small businesses in danger unless there is a policy that protects their interests. It will be fascinating to see Sweden implement this economy from afar.

  23. Erik Peterson November 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    Sweden is currently undergoing a major economic change: they are reducing, and eventually removing cash from circulation in their country. This economic change has had a substantial effect on everybody in the country. That being said, everyone seems to be adapting very well. I think that going cashless within a larger country, like the United States for example, would be a lot more difficult than in Sweden, but I think that the world is very slowly moving in that direction, as the digital age wears on.
    Of course, there are many potential risks and benefits to a country going cashless. One of the biggest benefits is the ease for both customers and businesses. Often with cash, things can take longer at the register, which decreases the total amount of customers that can be processed each day. If people were to use only credit cards or debit cards, things would go a lot smoother, and more customers would be able to purchase goods. Another benefit concerns crime. A major downfall of cash is that it is virtually untraceable. If someone were to get mugged with $100,000 cash on them, and the thief used all of that money immediately, regardless whether they were caught or not, the money would be gone. With credit cards only, the person who was stolen from could just put their card on hold or cancel it, and get a new one in the mail. Also, cash can be counterfeit. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to counterfeit a credit card.
    Even though there can be a lot of benefits to going completely cashless, there are also a lot of struggles that could potentially take place. Again, the issue of crime arises. One of the most common crimes, especially in America, is identity theft. It can be very easy to steal someone’s information without their knowledge, and use it for your own benefit. In the event that cash no longer exists, it would only make sense that crimes like identity theft would rise. Furthermore, if cash ceased to exist, there would need to be much more reliability in applications that are keeping track of the money flow. It is not so uncommon in this day in age to see a sign outside of a shop that says something along the lines of “Sorry, our system is currently down, cash only.” If something like that were to happen in a society where cash did not exist, there would be a big potential for chaos.
    All in all, I think that if Sweden can pull off a cashless society, then that would be good for them. However, if you tried to apply the same sort of practices into a larger country like America, then the system would ultimately fail. The most important fact in this case is that Sweden has only 10 million citizens in its country, meaning that they have to deal with about 1/32 of America’s population. I think that America should remain exactly as it is now, since the problems that would arise as a result of the elimination of cash could cause way more problems that what already exists with cash in the economy.

  24. Konnor Vanemon November 6, 2017 at 12:14 am #

    The concept of “going cashless” has become a topic that has grown in popularity for discussion within the past few years as payment methods are constantly advancing to improve security and convenience. Whether it’s placing our fingertip on our device’s home button or entering an account’s username, we can transfer funds from our bank accounts to pay for whatever goods we are purchasing in person or online at the moment and we can pay back money that we may owe to others within seconds. Apps like ApplePay and Venmo have made transferring funds and making payments quick and simple because there is no physical exchange of cash. By utilizing these applications in addition with a credit or debit card, it is easy for consumers to no longer carry around cash, especially as more companies adopt the “card only” payment method despite card transaction fees. In Sweden, less than 20 percent of retailers still accept cash as a form of payment and is quickly moving towards being a cashless country with the help from its small population, connected infrastructure, and trust in the banking system. The 40 percent decrease in the circulation of the Swedish krona also influences the country’s drive to become cashless because citizens aren’t carrying around psychical monetary funds as often as they used to.
    As for the United States, the article predicts that the cashless trend will lead to similar changes within our country as Sweden is currently seeing and experiencing. I believe that it will take a long period of time for this cashless concept to become a reality in the United States because a portion of our population still utilizes paper money as compensation over plastic. Our country’s population is larger than Sweden’s, and it consists of a higher percentage of elderly people who most likely resort to cash to pay for goods and may have never had a credit card in their lifetime, therefore they would have a difficult time adjusting to the cashless payment method. Furthermore, our country as a whole and a portion of our population have accumulated a high volume of debt over the years, making it difficult for our country to alter its payment methods and for citizens to apply and be accepted for credit cards as they may have low credit scores as a result of their debts.
    While most Americans have credit cards, I believe that transitioning to a cashless environment would only hurt our country and its citizens because we still rely on cash to make payments and our economy is not sound enough for all consumers to go cashless. While going cashless would be convenient, in some cases, consumers lose more money by paying with a card rather than using cash to make purchases. For example, I use a credit card to pay my college tuition every semester, and the payment program that my school uses for tuition payments adds on a 2.75 percent transaction fee because I am paying with a card. This increases my overall payment by several hundred dollars, so while it is convenient for me to pay my tuition bill in a matter of minutes without having to be on campus, it costs me more money for that convenience. Small companies and businesses also have to pay a similar transaction fee when their customers pay with a card instead of cash, so while they’re also paying for convenience, they’re keeping themselves from making the highest amount of money possible because they lose some of their revenue to payment fees. Security is also an issue when it comes to using the phone apps to make payments or transfer funds; while you need a password or your thumbprint for the transfer to go through, technology will never be secure enough to gains everyone’s trust in order to give up their card and bank account information to use these apps on a daily basis. Technology has allowed our shopping experience to become quicker, easier, and even more comfortable since we can shop from the comfort of our homes, but it has not become popular or practical enough to become our country’s method of payment. The possibility of the United States becoming a cashless country is a topic that needs to be discussed further as we are not in the position to make that transition with ease.

  25. Jeremy Daniels November 8, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    It’s not surprising that Sweden, one of the best economies in the world, is moving toward a cashless economy. Sweden would not be able to confidently attempt this without their stable infrastructure, small population, and the level of trust the citizens have in the country’s banking system. This presents a dilemma for small businesses who may not be keeping up with the times, forcing them to pay high transaction costs. Despite it giving businesses new marketing opportunities, some will still continue to use cash. It is estimated that two-thirds of retailers plan to phase out cash payments completely by 2030.

    It might not be on a national scale, but cashless transactions are becoming the desired form of payment in the U.S as well. I know many colleagues that never have cash, and often question why I still do. With apps like Venmo, a payment service owned by PayPal,or paying is simple and convenient. I find myself paying with my card more often, eliminating my need to run to the ATM for a quick withdrawal. We are nowhere near the level Sweden is in terms of going cashless, but it could very well be where we are heading.

  26. Georgy A November 10, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

    Sweden is quite a small country. Its population is only 10 million people, which is less than a population of a metropolitan area of New York. Therefore, in cities, everyone basically knows each other. It is much easier to change something in a small country than for example in large countries like the US or Russia. And just do not forget that the form of government in Sweden is a constitutional monarchy. I have been many times in the UK and a couple of times in Sweden, people there are friendly and like to talk with foreigners. Citizens are proud and respect their rulers. Ask any American citizen about their president and you will not hear a single answer. So people in Sweden are more approving of new laws because they trust to their king.
    In Sweden, cash will cease to be accepted only in 2030, by 2020 the use of cash will decrease to the maximum so that there will be no shock for people, they will be ready for a completely non-cash payment method. The transition to a completely non-cash system is a brilliant idea in which the government has multiple advantages. With the introduction of a new system, it will be not possible to hide real income or illegal earnings. For example, selling of something or working in uber not paying taxes on profits from this activities. For small businesses and ordinary people, the are not fewer advantages. Businesses will no longer need to order cash collections from a bank or worry about their cashiers be robbed. Money is going directly from customer to the account of the business in the bank. People can simply carry a bank card or phone. They do not need to receive change by cash or coins in the store and walk with full pockets. Money will be taken from their account in the exact amount what the price is. In addition to the many advantages, there are no fewer disadvantages of the non-cash system. In Sweden, there are a lot of places of interests so there are a lot of tourists there from neighboring countries and for example from the US. For tourists, this will be a novelty and they will need to change their dollars or other currencies with a predatory rate of banks, which is usually lower than local rate and also pay a large commission for transactions outside of their country. How to leave a tip to a hotel employee or pizza delivery without cash? Or to present money for a birthday? Cash for many is the same as a paper book, you can smell it or feel it in the hands. Six-digit numbers on the account in the bank will not give such emotions as a smaller amount of cash in your hands. Just holding the cash in hands, you can understand what for you are working and what you need to strive for. Motivation is very important.
    For a person who does not live in Sweden, I’m very interested in looking at this transformation from the side. This event will serve as a guide for the rest. I believe that in the near future many countries will follow the example of Sweden, as fewer people use cash for daily transactions. Also by 2020, the Swedish manufacturer Volvo will stop producing and selling fully gasoline cars. This is another reason to follow news from Sweden for the next couple of years.

  27. Sean F November 11, 2017 at 11:01 am #

    With Sweden transitioning away from a society carrying cash, it is prevalent with how the world is going to rely on technology (as if we aren’t there already). Granted not every country will be able to amount to going without physical currency by 2030, which Sweden is anticipating to accomplish, it would be yet another large step for technology the world has taken to see this feat accomplished. Sweden has certain factors allowing for this to happen, the main being their population, it is a relatively small developed country with only 10 million people living there. This could be the next revolutionary step for commerce but there can be drawbacks. Although cash would be the safest way to pay for goods, NFC (near-field communication) and RFID (radio frequency identification) are becoming safer means of exchanging currency. Things such as Apple pay and Samsung pay use RFID which is much safer than using a debit card. Debit cards can be dangerous by physical traps such as card skimmers. These skimmers are placed over a pos terminal and can be a very dangerous tool that thieves will use to collect your bank account information, pin number as well as the ability to duplicate your debit card. By switching to the NFC and RFID, exchanges become more secure through the security of the company with less concern for the physical traps. It will be very important to monitor this development over the next decade to determine if switching to a more digital currency would have enough benefits rather than remaining with the physical currency.

  28. Eric A November 11, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    The world we live in is constantly changing. We may not have flying cars (yet), but many of the technologies we take for granted today weren’t around 20 years ago and seemed impossible before that. One example is the telephone. 50 years ago, the only phones available were corded phones that sat on a wall mount. Now? Home phones are scarcer than ever and the phones we use now (cell phones) are essentially miniature laptop computers that are used to make calls occasionally. At first glance, a country going to a cashless society is alarming. However, it really isn’t very different from the evolution of the phone or the automobile.
    The article notes that Sweden will likely be cash-free within the next few decades as they transition to alternative forms of payment. The move certainly makes sense for the government. They will have to spend quite a bit of money in the beginning to create and maintain the new infrastructure, but they will likely save money over time once the transition is complete because they will no longer bear the cost of creating physical currency. I couldn’t find data on Sweden, but the United States spent almost $720 million in currency production in 2015. (Mental Floss) Bottom line, the adage of “you have to spend money to make money” couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to producing currency. On a more basic level, not having to carry cash around anymore would be very convenient for the citizens. Assuming the infrastructure works and is secure, people would not have to worry about forgetting to bring enough cash with them to the store or losing it and never being able to recover it.
    The benefits of going cashless are real, but so are the risks. Fact is, anything that relies on technology or the internet is hackable. According to CNN, 47% of American adults were hacked in 2014. This means that 47% of adults had their personal information stolen that year- a testament to how unsafe we really are online. To make a cashless society work and be secure, they would have to secure it with top-level encryption and constantly monitor the network for threats. Even if they do, there will still always be vulnerabilities and the network will never be as secure as physical cash. Like anything else, this is a tradeoff that societies will have to weigh when deciding whether they want to “go cashless.”

  29. Vincent Scorese December 8, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    Sweden wanting to go cashless and according to predictions by experts they feel that this could come as quick as 2020 is just crazy. Cash has been a median of exchange ever since currency was a respected form of barter by the world of trade. The fact that the article points out they are very trusting in the banks is all fine and well except that is going to be a problem when the banks get in trouble and all of your money is tied up In that said bank, what would people do then? What happens when your phone dies or if something goes down in a store that they cannot process electronic payment like in the case of an emergency disaster? The answer is that those would be in big trouble.

    Also, another major issue with the abolishment of cash is the fact that in a realistic situation the government or anyone for that matter can track exactly where you spend and what you spend your money on. That’s un American because that intrudes on the freedom to do what you want to do and for the most part you are off the radar to act and live as you please. If someone gets access to your personal information and wants to clear out your bank account, what are you supposed to do in the meantime where there is no access to money as the bank or government tries to figure out the situation and tries to reimburse you?

    It’s an idea that sounds good on paper maybe but it is a very far out idea that I for one would not want to be a part of. That ties me to a bank or other financial institution and what if I do not want to be tied to one? We saw what banks and other financial institutions got us into in 2008 with the subprime crisis and in that situation cash was king. Also, having a completely paperless society would make it hard to grab the concept on how much something costs or is worth, we all know those with credit cards spend more and this could lead young people to get into major debt issues at a young age and could possibly mess them up in the future with the finances being a very big component on things like retirement or how they live in terms of comfortability in life. I think cash should stay around because like it says on that dollar bill. IN GOD WE TRUST.

  30. Frank Mabalatan January 26, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

    In 2015, the United States currency budget allotted almost $718 million dollars for the manufacturing of paper money (1). In 2016, the United States produced every single penny at a deficit (2). The future of physical currency in society is nonexistent and the United States government has not yet read the writing on the wall. Not only has electronic currency eclipsed paper as the preferred commercial medium, but also it has rendered paper obsolete and, more often than not, a nuisance amongst consumers. Swedish vendors’ transition to a card-only business model is a harbinger for what eventually be commonplace around the world. The progression to a cashless society appears to be evident based on Sweden’s success, but there are several underlying problems that arise concerning a cashless society working for everyone.
    Although the technology exists and makes the lives of many easier and more efficient (i.e. credit cards, banking apps, Apple Pay), several demographics do not have access to this technology and would be alienated by a cashless society. Bjorn Eriksson, president of Interpol admits to he is approval of cards, but expresses frustration with that being the exclusive medium of commerce. Eriksson in Maddy Savage’s article, “Why Sweden is close to becoming a cashless society”, explains that “the elderly, former convicts, tourists [and] immigrants” would have difficulty adjusting to a society without cash because it would be challenging for such demographics to use them. Moreover, Eriksson states the “system could be easily disturbed or manipulated”. Cash has a layer of security in that it can only be manipulated by those who are in possession of it. As with many technological advancements, there are many issues to be addressed before it can be implement as a fixture in daily life. For the world to enter an age of no cash, all members in an economy must have access to the currency in use and have the capability to use it properly. Certainly, the world will eventually leave cash in the past, but just as it took decades for consumers to put trust into the American paper dollar, time is needed for consumers to put their trust into the American electronic dollar.


  31. Ryan Mack February 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm #

    ‘Change is the only constant’ echoes the famous idea of Greek philosopher Heraclitus. This has held true since the beginning of time and will continue long beyond the present. It applies to everything from the natural formations of the earth and nature to every manmade system or society, including our financial system. We’ve gone from bartering to a complex system of economics, and among the currently evolving economy is the change in how financial transactions are made. Generally accepted as the first credit card in 1950, the Diner’s Club card initiated a new system of cashless transactions that has since grown to become a widely accepted, convenient, easy, and quick payment method. This is evident in the United States and throughout the remainder of North America, as well as Western Europe, but one country that’s far more ahead in the process of becoming completely cashless is Sweden. According to the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, cash has been used in less than twenty percent of store transactions. Researchers predict that by 2020 cash will become a very relegated and obsolete payment form. The Swedish government and banking officials announced their plans to reduce the amount of cash and coins in circulation in 2010, and since then the Swedish Krona has seen a forty percent reduction in circulation. It is believed that Sweden was able to achieve their goal of becoming cashless so quickly, surpassing the United States, because they already possess the connected infrastructure required to operate on a cashless system, a smaller population of roughly 10 million people, and a higher level of trust by people in Sweden’s banking system. The convenience and efficiency could give the notion that it’s a perfect replacement for cash, however with practically every new implementation, there comes a negative effect for somebody, and in this case, its small businesses and criminals. Going cashless and using payment methods such as credit cards could both help and hurt small business in by accepting cashless methods, merchants provide more efficient options for customers and helps their business to grow and market products by collecting contact information as well as reduce the risk of robbery; although it could hurt them in the government and other agencies’ ability to see earnings, the loss or challenge of older customers who are slower to adapt, and last but not least the high card transaction fees they have to pay to accept the cards. Sweden is on the fast track to becoming the world’s first cashless country, and the U.S. will probably build off some of their models in our transition to a cashless society. Currently the U.S. has seen a significant rise in cashless transactions especially with the release of mobile wallet services such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet where you don’t even need your physical credit card anymore. It’s also more sanitary, and an even more secure way to pay because the card numbers are encrypted. The country has the resources to become like Sweden, it just lacks people’s trust in online security; many feel they can keep their money safer if it is physical cash. The U.S. population is thirty-two times larger than Sweden causing national occurrences to take longer to catch on and for people to truly understand how it works in order to trust it and adapt. On occasion I’ll use my credit and debit card through Apple Pay, but I still prefer cash mostly because I still like the physicality of it and being able to control where I put it. The U.S. is slowly adapting and accepting electronic, cashless payment and in time we will be a cashless society, with basically only criminals using paper cash, but until that day comes, I’ll hold onto my physical cash.

  32. Kayla Washington February 9, 2018 at 10:49 pm #

    As time progresses, we as a people evolve and create things to make our stay here on Earth more pleasurable. It seems to me that through each generation we pass down ideas or certain technologies that become more enhanced or advanced as we get older, to make what was once considered impossible, possible. Like, think about how long you have heard about the idea of a cashless economy and laughed at how ridiculous that idea sounded. You probably thought to yourself, yeah when pigs fly. But now that we are in the Technology Era, digital visionaries around the world have pushed forward with that idea, like Sweden. After reading this article, it’s important to note that one of the reasons Sweden has become so successful with the cashless society is due to the higher level of trust by the people in the country’s banking system. Now, while I can see small certain areas in the United States testing out that system, I strongly believe not many of the American people would be onboard due to their lack of trust in President Trump, or just our government system as a whole.
    Aside from that, many would agree that although the United States is not yet completely cashless, we are slowly moving in that path. Consider the fact that we have, mobile transactions apps like Cash App, Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet, and Cash App, that are similar to Sweden’s devices like Swish and iZettle. In fact, the United States “…mobile transaction apps are expected to reach $721.4 billion worldwide this year as more consumers have discovered the ease of paying for things and exchanging money with their smartphones” (Safian 1). Also, fast food restaurants like McDonalds, and cafes like Starbucks, and many others are making space for a cashless business where people can purchased food through an app and then you could just pick up your order when they notify you that it’s ready. Interesting enough, Amazon took things a step further in the retail world with it’s “surveillance-powered, no-checkout convenience store that is cashless and cashierless. All you have to do is order your items online and walk in, grab what you want, and walk out” (Coldewey 1).
    Without a doubt, these new changes in our world are both exciting and terrifying, there’s a decent amount of benefits and disadvantages that arisse using cash or going cashless. To begin with, an advantage of using cash on hand is that it reduces the amount of debit card replacements you probably experienced due to unauthorized charges appearing in your account. Another instance when cash is better is when you’re using a card, and the cashier or customer swipes or inserts the card, then waits, for what feels like forever, for a transaction to be processed and then, the customer has to sign the electronic pad (or, worse, for a paper receipt to be printed and then signed). Like, it’s those moments where several cash transactions could have been completed in that time frame is you just used cash. In addition, having cash makes it easier to track your spending habits. On top of that, using cash for my day-to-day transactions, like buying coffee or leaving a tip for a waiter, going to the gas station, or for other local purchases less than $100, cash is extremely convenient to use. But, on the other hand, there a couple of benefits of going cashless. One being is that depending on the situation, the process may be much faster than paying with cash. Like, driving into the city or in a new part of town and you hit a toll booth with no cash or loose change, it can be extremely convenient knowing that you can use your phone or card to handle that transaction.And, for the times that I have gone shopping and paid cash with $100 bills, I often had to wait a while to receive my change and, for the times they miscounted, I would have to wait even longer for the corrected amount. Furthermore, when carrying a card or mainly phone to purchase items, you are less likely to lose or carelessly throw it away as would with cash.
    In conclusion, I like the idea of the United States technologically advancing, and am pleased with the fact that Sweden is actually literally living in a digital or virtual world. In the same token, I do believe that refusing to take cash limits the people’s choices and forces them to put all trust in the security of a business’s electronic payment system. All in all, while the idea of having a cashless society sounds and even looks cool, I strongly believe that being completely reliant on “smart” technology will be a great mistake.


  33. Chris Goldfarb February 23, 2018 at 4:21 pm #

    If I’ve learned anything in all my years of history classes is that once something starts it’s hard to stop especially when it comes to technology. So when Sweden decides they want to go cashless by 2020 and they’re already 80 percent of the way there, nothing is going to stop that. That however does not mean it could not back fire once the conversion has been made. Sweden is also a country of a relatively low population so even if they do find success the system could struggle in a country with a much larger population such as the U.S. or China. There are a lot of variables here so I think it is incredibility important to go through each one of them if the conversation shifts to a cashless United States.
    Firstly one of the biggest problems at first glance is the issue of people either not having the internet or smartphone. In the U.S. in 2018 about 77 percent of Americans ( own a smart phone. That is a very significant percentage of Americans but in a cashless society that leaves 23 percent unable to partake in the economy in anyway. Though in just the past 7 years this number has increased from 35 percent to where it stands now at 77 percent. That means in a relatively short amount of time a huge portion of the population has made the switch and the remaining people who do not own a smart phone are largely the elderly who did not grow up in the digital age. At this point though even my 60 year old dad who has refused a smart phone for at least 5 years is now getting one. The point being that while not all elderly will switch to a smart phone a good portion of them might as time goes on along with the fact that a lot of them may pass away. It is also important to note that this switch would not happen all at once and if we started making it a national goal it would still probably take a while to implement. This is considering that were pretty close to a cashless society already anyway which brings me to my next point.
    The second most obvious problem is the security issue, if someone gets access to you information, your phone, or your account then you stand to lose a lot of money very quickly and having a cashless society will increase the amount of potential targets hackers will have to choose from. This really doesn’t mean all that much because this has already been a problem for a while as most people already have the capability to access their money online anyway so consequently so have hackers. In America this wouldn’t really be a big deal as we have competent infrastructure in place to give reparations to people who have had their identity stolen because we’ve had to deal with this for a while. These to me are the two biggest problems America currently faces in regards to becoming a cashless society but one is solved with time and the other is something that will always be a problem but we have systems in place to both protect us from it and repay us in case it does happen.

  34. marcello bertuzzelli March 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm #

    With Sweden making advancements towards the future through the practice of paperless transactions, what says that we cannot follow their path? It is already inevitable that we are heading in that direction, but why have we waited so long. Many people might feel scared by the thought of an extinction of cash. For decades people felt that cash was the safest mean of transaction and that it insured their safety in the form of a hard copy that could never be taken unless done so right in front of their eyes. However, cash is in the past and there are some reasons why.
    “In general, consumers are very interested in new technologies, so we’re quite early to adopt [them],” explains Niklas Arvidsson, a professor at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology. Although this statement is applying directly to the location in context, this is a worldwide thought. Companies use consumer psychology to attract study their users, learn what they like, and further attract them through advancements supporting their associations. What does this mean? Even for those who may not seem into the idea of no more cash, things will change soon. Sweden is the primary example in this situation because of the large percentage of the country that has said “enough with cash”, but this is going on everywhere for multiple reasons.
    One of the largest problems with cash is inflation, and yes, it is not salient yet, but prices have been rising over time and they will continue to rise. In essence, what you have in the bank today will buy you less tomorrow. Taking away the flow of cash and using a credit or mobile transactions can help to keep price stable. It is nothing certain that we will make a complete change, but it is the direction that we are heading in the US. I feel as though it is better because that is what will be most suitable when the time comes. Our technologically lives will no longer need cash, and that is okay. You can see safer aspects through cards in forms like traceable records, multilayered security in cards, the fact of cancelation, payment offers, etc.

  35. Jacob McDougall June 15, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

    The concept of going cashless seems almost surreal in the manner that it does not seem entirely possible, however, the benefits of it are pretty alluring. If Sweden does successfully go cashless, they will most likely see less illegal activity like robbery or fraud. There will be no incentive for armed robbery because there is simply no financial gain in it for the criminal anyway. Also, without cash, it becomes basically impossible for people to commit financial fraud in terms of reporting their earnings to the government. This idea alone seems so intelligent that I am actually surprised that this is one of the first time I’ve read about the concept of going cashless as a nation and as a society. The thought of the United States of America going without a physical currency is absolutely ludicrous. This is most likely due to the fact that we are approximately 30 times the size of Sweden in terms of population and we are living in a society that has a lot of large groups of people with opposing views. I think if Congress tried to institute such a policy as this, we would see a lot of backlash from the public, ultimately preventing this from going into affect.

    Even though this theory of going cashless seems like a great concept for Sweden, I am curious as to how exactly it would work. Domestically, it seems completely status quo, but when it comes to trade and international business I think there could be several red flags that the nation could encounter. The biggest threat that I see from going cashless is internet hacking and cybersecurity. If I was part of Sweden’s government, I would make sure a considerable amount of additional funds go to improving cybersecurity to ensure the safety and the reputation of Sweden. I am not trying to diminish the threat of personal account hacking (because that is a HUGE issue), but much more destruction could become reality for the Swedish government should their financial records and policies be leaked through hacking. I believe there would be protests, boycotts, and broken relationships for the country if something like this should occur, and a big part of success for a country is its support from the residents within that country. Even countries like North Korea have a ton of support from its residents (maybe this is due to the strict environment they live in, but they still show their support publicly for their government).

    Overall, the idea of a cashless society makes a lot of sense to me. I, too, do not see the purpose of having a physical currency in circulation other than for its symbolism. In the technologically advanced world that we live in, I’m surprised that this is a topic that is just becoming a possible trend in 2017/18. I believe that due to the small population and progressive political nature of Sweden, their government could successfully go cashless in the near future. It seems that the rest of the world (at least Europe) will follow in Sweden’s footsteps as they have very common values politically. It will definitely be an adjustment for the people of Sweden, but if security measures are taken appropriately then I do not see the harm in taking a step into the future of our global economies by going cashless.

  36. Croix R March 14, 2019 at 6:35 pm #

    This article from the Washington Post discusses how Sweden retail has gone almost completely cashless. This is an interesting concept to me. When I buy things, I never use cash. In fact, I rarely carry more than ~$20 on me. There are so many easier and more convenient ways to make purchases in today’s digital world. My favorite is using Apple Pay. I am able to make purchases from my phone or even watch. All you have to do is tap your device against the reader. The transaction is extremely safe. This technology creates a unique card number each time you make a transaction and only authorizes the amount that you pay. Since this is the case, no one can steal this card number and make fraudulent purchases. To go a step further, Apple does not even store your card number on their servers. They only get it once and verify with the credit card company. I agree with the author that this trend will really take off. I already see most people I know carrying only a small amount of cash.

    Of course, there are some downsides to going cashless. The majority of the headaches that would come with this trend fall on the business. The biggest one is that businesses are charged processing fees on every single sale that they make. If they make a cash transaction, then there are of course no processing fees. They also have to worry about having the infrastructure in place to take payments. This is a more minor detail though, because most businesses today already have some sort of cashless payment options available to customers.

    Not everyone is for this idea of becoming a cashless world. In fact, the city of Philadelphia became the first U.S. city to ban cashless stores. Opponents of this concept say that it hurts lower income individuals and they want to protect all citizens access to the marketplace. I agree that it is tough to force everyone to use a digital payment method. Lower income individuals may not have access to a cellular device. Also, they may not even have a bank account. It is kind of hard to imagine a world where no one even takes cash. I can think of a situation where you send your kid to the store to get themselves some ice cream. In a cashless world what would you do? Send them with your phone or credit card. Would you trust them not to lose either? I think that it will be very interesting to see how this cashless trend goes in the next few years. It will probably be a huge difference from the way we all saw the world growing up.

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