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What happens when Sweden goes paperless?

16 Jun 2017

With a remarkable drop in cash transactions over a six-year period, from 106bn SEK to less than 80bn SEK (€8bn) in 2015, Sweden is about to become the first cash-free society in the world…but what does that mean for paper currency and my exchange?

Around 350 years ago, Sweden became the first European country to print and use paper money and as with most advancements, Sweden is likely to be the first to endeavour to become completely physically cash-free. The fact is Sweden is a technologically enthusiastic nation. 5G mobile connectivity and ultra-super-duper (that’s the technical term) broadband Internet are scheduled to roll-out across the country by the end of 2020 and with this level of technology at their disposal; it would seem almost rude not to embrace the future of financial transactions. 

The Swedish public has been used to note-free spending for some time, with public transport solely card accessible and having embraced PayPal, smartphone apps and a few years ago, a consortium of Scandinavian banks joined to produce a secure program called ‘Swish’, which enables real-time transfers of funds – no delay.

Across the country a mere 2% of transactions are with cash and less than 20% of transactions in shops and other businesses are cash-based, compared to the global average of 75%. In the USA, cash accounts for nearly 50% of payments, despite their enthusiasm towards PayPal and the like.    

As the vast majority of the Scandinavian country prefers digital over physical transactions, the main element slowing their currency revolution down is full internet coverage for all; that would include rural communities where broadband infrastructure is patchy at best…and the elderly that find change difficult. But, as with most things, time will tell. 

It ultimately boils down to a choice - note based currencies provide comfort and privacy, whereas digital transactions, while quick and easy, are open to public scrutiny but could severely hamper crime. 

So should I still exchange my pounds for Krona or just take my Visa with me on holiday? 
Currency exchange, at least for now, is still the best way to take your money abroad. 

There are no transaction charges, no commission fees and if you use a buy back option, like the Original Buy Back rate that eurochange offers, you are able to exchange a percentage of your money back for the same rate in which you initially paid. 

Visit eurochange, in branch and online for great service, convenience and value. 
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