Pensioners Bicker as Sweden is Set to Become World’s First Cashless Society

Thursday, June 23, 2016
By Paul Martin

Sweden has been internationally hailed as a technologically advanced country, ready to embrace a completely cashless society in a pioneering effort along with its Nordic cousins. However, considerable uncertainty remains among Sweden’s elderly.

Sweden is no doubt one of the countries that are closest to eliminating money altogether, as the use of cash is decreasing steadily year by year. New technology and new payment solutions are spurring further development. In 15 years, cash will become completely obsolete, the Swedish National Bank predicted earlier this year.
At present, cash represents only two percent of the Swedish economy, compared to ten percent in the Eurozone and nearly eight percent in the United States. At the same time only 20 percent of all customer payments are done with cash, whereas in the rest of the world, the figure hovers at 75 percent.

However, many elderly Swedes show little optimism in embracing a cashless society. The National Pensioners’ Organization (PRO) has been a long-standing critic of the “far too rapid” development and has recently handed over a petition with nearly 140,000 signatures, requesting that cash remain in use. According to the PRO, fewer and fewer bank branches handle cash, which creates major problems.

“Many elderly people feel excluded when you need to use cash cards or cell phones to take a bus or to use a public toilet. Only half of members use cash cards everywhere. Seven percent never use them at all. We want the government to slow down the process,” Johanna Hållén, press officer at the PRO told the Guardian.

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