In 1661, the Swedes were the first Europeans to introduce bank notes to their people, today they will be the first to rid of them.
“I can’t see why we should be printing bank notes at all anymore,” says Bjoern Ulvaeus, former member of 1970’s pop group ABBA, and a vocal proponent for a world without cash. A cashless society is starting to take shape in this high-tech nation, where in most cities you are not able to buy a bus ticket with cash any more. A growing number of businesses became cards only already and some bank offices have stopped handling cash altogether. Even offerings at sunday services can be done via card readers in some churches already. Still a problem for elderly people, or anyone who don’t have credit cards or don’t know how to use them to withdraw cash. But their number will be irrelevant soon enough.
The Swedish Bankers’ Association says the shrinkage of the cash economy is already making an impact in crime statistics. The number of bank robberies in Sweden plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — the lowest level since it started keeping records 30 years ago. It says robberies of security transports are also down and graft is becoming difficult in a cashless society.
Funny, right, but of course illegal employment and other shadow economies are also harder to maintain in such an environment.