In Sweden, The Phone Replaces Cash


She can dig her head. Elsa, 14, a young Swede from Lund, a city of Skane, in the south of the kingdom, is hard to say when she used cash last time. Her wallet contains only few crowns, that remainds of a ticket offered by her grandmother in Christmas. “I always end up losing them,” she moaned , preferring her bank card or mobile phone, which she uses for “swish”.

The verb “swish”, now used in everyday language, is derived from the name of the mobile application. Swish created by the six largest banks in the country at the end of 2012. It allows the high school student to make payments, in real time and free of charge and it transfers using only the mobile phone number.

More than six from ten Swedes explains that the use of cash is accelerated disappears in recent years. The point is that Sweden could become the first country in the world to do all transactions without cash within five years according to experts. Already, less than one transaction in five purchases is settled in coins or notes.

In the university campus, buses have not accepted cash since 2011: a decision of the regional company which officially wanted to protect its drivers against the risk of aggression. Passengers pays by credit card, prepaid cards or directly on the company’s application.

Some restaurants and shops have also banned cash. Near the train station, on the coffee counter of the organic chain Barista a sign indicates that the establishment is “kontantfritt” (Cash Free) for our safety. Customers can pay by card or swisher.

Even the Lutheran Church has made the transition. At the entrance of the cathedral, a billboard offers visitors to “swisher” their donation. In the parish, at the time of the quest, the priests remind that it is possible to give by SMS.

Evolution, which delights the banks, does not please everyone. The association of retirees Pro reminds that not all Swedes have access to the latest technologies.

On 26 February, Central Bank Governor Stefan Ingves warned of the “potential vulnerability” of a company, where all means of payment would be controlled only by private actors.


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