Cashless payment solutions are emerging on a larger scale than just festivals, stores, and sports venues – Sweden is currently knee-deep in an initiative to eliminate the use of hard currency throughout the entire country.
As one step toward this ambitious goal, public means of transportation have stopped accepting cash as a payment option. If you want to ride the bus you have to use a prepaid ticket, such as the Oyster Card in London or the Charlie Card in Boston. Short of that, customers have the ability to purchase a ticket using their cell phones.
But the elimination of using cash extends beyond the public transportation system. An increasing number of businesses in Sweden have stopped accepting cash as a payment option, and instead only take cards. Even banks have stopped handling cash in many areas, and use electronic transactions in its place.
Advocates of this move have said that the removal of cash from the economy has caused a decline in the amount of crime in the country, particularly bank and security transport robberies. In 2008, Sweden saw 110 bank robberies. Three years later, that number plummeted to 16, the lowest number in 30 years.
While the total elimination of cash is most likely still several years away, it’s clear that cashless payment options are bound to keep increasing.