It’s the Beginning of the End of Cash. Sweden is pointing the way to a cash-free economy. There are many things to dislike about analog money. Cash and coins are unwieldy, heavy and dirty. Despite Square and PayPal and other services that would seem to herald the end of cash, bills and coins still represent 7 percent of America’s total economy. In Sweden, which ranked first in this year’s Global Information Technology Report from the World Economic Forum — cash is even scarcer than in the USA. While Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661, it’s now come farther than any other country in the attempt to eradicate them. In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether. ‘There are towns where it isn’t at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash,’ complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden’s National Pensioners’ Organization. He says that’s a problem for elderly people in rural areas who don’t have credit cards or don’t know how to use them to withdraw cash.
Even churches and houses of worship are becoming increasingly friendly to cash-free transactions: At the Carl Gustaf Church in Karlshamn, southern Sweden, Vicar Johan Tyrberg recently installed a card reader to allow worshipers to tithe in digital form.
It may be the beginning of the end of cash. Sweden’s innovations suggest a future in which cash is increasingly rare. It’s no surprise that Sweden and other Nordic countries are at the forefront of this development, given their emphasis on technology and innovation.
CASH, CYBERCASH AND CRIME
A cash-reduced culture gives rise to new concerns – “cybersecurity” and “privacy”. Oscar Swartz, the founder of Banhof, Sweden’s first Internet provider, puts it like so: “One should be able to send money and donate money to different organizations without being traced every time.” Swedish crime statistics suggest a correlation between cash and crime. The number of bank robberies in Sweden has dropped from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — “the lowest level,” reporter Malin Rising notes, “since it started keeping records 30 years ago.” The Swedish Bankers’ Association also says that robberies of security transports are down.
Sweden has less of a problem with graft, the AP says, than countries with a stronger cash culture. “If people use more cards, they are less involved in shadow economy activities,” economics professor Friedrich Schneider argued. And others note that a cash-reduced culture will disincentivize pickpocketers and muggers: When a card can simply be cancelled, what’s the point?But what about cybercrime? According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, the number of computerized fraud cases, including skimming, surged to nearly 20,000 in 2011 from 3,304 in 2000. Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661..but now it’s come farther than most on the path to getting rid of them. ‘I can’t see why we should be printing bank notes at all anymore,’ says Bjoern Ulvaeus, former member of 1970s pop group ABBA and a vocal proponent for a world without cash. The prevalence of electronic transactions — and the digital trail they generate — also helps explain why Sweden has less of a problem with graft than countries with a stronger cash culture, such as Italy or Greece, says economics professor Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Austria.
Cash and coins leave no automatic record of the financial transactions that are made with them. ‘If people use more cards, they are less involved in shadow economy activities,’ says Schneider, a so called expert on underground economies. Who benefits most in a cashless society? The BANKSTERS, of course. They can rob but they can’t be robbed. In a cashless society, they control all the wealth and YOU ARE PENNILESS. Anything you earn is just digits on a computer screen and digits can be deleted in an instant. Cut up your plastic!