About two years ago there was a question on Musing, about countries going totally cashless. The answers varied based on where the responding users were located. Some said it's going to happen at some point while others from countries where fried fish is still served wrapped in old newspaper on the street said no way, that will never happen as you can't live without cash. Most of us knew it's just a matter of time, sooner or later someone is going to start the revolution and that day has come as Sweden is going cashless very soon.
They were the second (after London) to inaugurate their first automatic cash machine in July 1967. They like new things and ready to try out everything, be early adopters. If you ask me, this is the right mentality as it makes you move forward faster than the rest of the world.
Swish is a mobile payment system in Sweden. The service was launched in 2012 by six large Swedish banks, in cooperation with Bankgirot and the Central Bank of Sweden. It had 6.5 million users as of September 2018. Swish is a member of the European Mobile Payment Systems Association.
The service works through a smartphone application, through which the user's phone number is connected to their bank account, and which makes it possible to transfer money in real time, a few seconds until confirmation is received by both parties. source
Swish had 6.5 million users in 2018, which means roughly 60% of the population as in 31 August 2020 Sweden had 10.8 million inhabitants. If we don't count kids and older people who are not capable of using such an app, I'd say pretty much everyone is using Swish. Achieving that number in only six years is impressive!
Another solution they are using in some supermarkets, cafés, shops is QR codes that customers can scan in order to pay by using their mobile phones.
Mobile Bank ID?
BankID is a mobile app that allows anyone with a Swedish personal identification number and bank account to access all digital public services, use online banking and sign contracts. Looks like the app is easy to use as it has a six digit identification. Compared to our key system on the blockchain this must be really simple. Phones also have fingerprint identification, which makes phones and any app safer.
They say if you can remember your password it means it's not safe one, but in this case it's not true. Imagine people copying long strings of passwords full of lower case and upper case, plus numbers over and over again as there's a high chance you mistype something. This system can function only if you can keep your password in mind.
I remember I saw a tv program a couple of years ago about microchip being implanted in Swedish people's hand, that you could pay with, open doors or store data about your commuting pass and use it simply by waving the hand. The program started in 2014 and reached it's peak two years later.
The data is clear, no need to add more. It speaks for itself, it's the decision of Swedes to opt for non-cash payments. Many businesses have signs like Card only, Cashfree or Cash only as it's the easiest and fastest way to handle payments. The 9% is 2020 is made up by older people (most likely) and are very small payments that is going to disappear completely in the near future.
Sweden’s government will start exploring the feasibility of having the country move to a digital currency, marking another step into the unknown for the world’s most cashless society.
Per Bolund, financial markets minister, said a review launched on Friday is expected to be completed by the end of November in 2022. Anna Kinberg Batra, a former chairwoman of the Riksbank’s finance committee, will lead the inquiry.
Sweden is among the first countries in the world to consider introducing a digital currency. Its central bank is already running a pilot project with Accenture Plc to introduce an electronic krona based on the same blockchain technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin.
Writing this post on Leofinace, a blockchain based platform, I don't think I have to detail to you what this means. It's the best news you can get if you're into cryptocurrency.
For skeptics, as you can see, a cashless society is possible and I tell you why and how.
How Did They Get Here?
As I mentioned in the first part of my post, Swedes like to be the first, to lead the trend or create the trend if you like. They are pioneers in many things and able to adapt to a new situation.
As you can see, this was/is a process, it didn't happen from one day to another. There have been many steps that led to this situation. Little by little, adopting new things, people getting used to new technology led the society to a point in which they don't want to use cash anymore.
The covi-19 forced lockdown speeded up the process enormously. Being forced to stay at home or not allowed to leave your city left no other choice but to order online, eliminating the use of cash as much as possible worldwide, forcing businesses to find new solutions.
This is the normal process, a natural one. When statistics show less and less people are using cash, it means it's time for a smarter solution.
Is It That Simple?
It is at first glance but as every change and innovation, there are problems that need solutions. One concern is safety obviously. Going all digital means you need the best safety system possible as hackers are not sleeping and I'm not referring to bored teens who are trying to look cool in front of their friends. However, Swedes know what they are dealing with, have experience as many apps are developed every day and know how important security is.
Elderly people are a problem just like anywhere else, they most likely will need assistance but I bet they have a plan for that too.
What About The Rest Of The World?
Sweden has the advantage of being a small country compared to China, India or United States to name a few. It has less than 11 million inhabitants, so it's easier to adapt. The other advantage is they started the digitalization process early, by adopting all kinds of new technology and people are already used to change.
My country, Romania is going to be among the last ones to join the cashless world, if ever. Unfortunately we're extremely slow in anything, we take first place on lists for all the wrong reasons.
Inflation was so high at some point that in 2005 the government decided to do a redenomination, which meant cutting four zeros (10,000∶1). This was done obviously out of necessity to make our life easier. However, it's been 15 years since then and millions, especially village people are still using the old system, converting every price and sum back to millions as they don't want to change.
Accepting any kind of change is slow and difficult for this group. Even thought many have debit cards getting their pension transferred on every month, they cash out all they get immediately and hold cash instead.
These are just a few examples why we won't be among the first adopters, the bad ones I don't even want to mention here, better that way.
So what about your country? How do you see the situation? Is there any chance in the near future to go totally cashless?
Posted Using LeoFinance Beta