Home > 2015 > Personal Finance

Adjö, Krona! Sweden on Its Way to Being the First Cash-Free Economy

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

Sweden is moving closer to becoming the world’s first cashless economy, with some researchers estimating that every transaction in the country could be digital by 2030, according to a report from Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Not only are cards, apps and other digital forms of payment increasingly popular in Sweden, cash is simply harder to find. In 2009, there were about 106 billion kronor (about $12.3 billion) in circulation, but now there are less than 80 billion kronor ($9.3 billion) in circulation, according to central bank data cited in the report. The decline is expected to continue.

Apparently, only 40% to 60% of those 80 billion kronor are actually in use, with the rest stowed away in people’s homes or working their way through the underground economy. Several banks in Sweden have gone completely digital and do not accept cash, and consumers who bring cash to banks must explain where it came from, the report says. The elimination of cash is not only a countrywide embrace of technology, it’s also an effort to crack down on organized crime.

A 2014 report from MasterCard on cashless societies estimates that 85% of transactions worldwide are made using cash. In Sweden, it’s quite the opposite. GOOD magazine‘s Mark Hay summarized the digital currency culture in Sweden:

This year, 85 to 90 percent of all transactions in Sweden will likely be electronic, using cards, apps, wire transfers, or some other modern mode of transfer. That number’s even higher — 95 percent — for retail sales. Swedes are so heavily addicted to cards and apps (more so than any other nation) that five of six major banks in the nation have gone cashless; from 2010 to 2012, 500 bank branches moved to all-digital transactions, and removed 900 ATMs from around the nation, making Sweden Europe’s second worst country for cash machine coverage. The last reliable place to get cash in the nation is the supermarket checkout line, where you can get up to 500 kronor ($57) back per transaction when paying with a card. Even Sweden’s church collection plates have gone digital.

That MasterCard report says 59% of transactions in Sweden take place with non-cash methods, which still puts it among the top cashless countries in that report, tied with France, and behind the Netherlands (60%) and Singapore (61%). By contrast, only 45% of transactions in the U.S. are done without cash.

There are plenty of obstacles to achieving a totally cash-free economy, in Sweden and everywhere else, like setting up infrastructure in rural areas and making sure digital payments are reliable. Totally getting rid of cash may not be possible, but with the prevalence of credit cards and the continuing development of new payment methods, we’re definitely getting closer to it.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Hemera

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team