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A cashless society (2)

Venezuelans favor digital money due to security concerns and Argentinians because of inflation, whereas people in Japan are typically leery of credit-card debts. Japan, though miles more prepared for digital money than Venezuela, is actually a more cash-intensive economy.

In Sweden, ranked No. 5 in the list of top 10 cashless societies, 89% of consumer payments are made by digital mean and 96% of population is with a debit card. Sweden is fast becoming an almost entirely cashless society.

The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper’s recently featured an article “Sweden leads the race to become cashless society”, and says that Swedish buses have not taken cash for years, it is impossible to buy a ticket on the Stockholm metro with cash, retailers are legally entitled to refuse coins and notes, and street vendors – and even churches – increasingly prefer card or phone payments. In shops, cash is now used for barely 20% of transactions and way below the global average of 75%. About 900 of Sweden’s 1,600 bank branches no longer keep cash on hand or take cash deposits – and many, especially in rural areas, no longer have ATMs. Cards are now the main form of payment.

Swedes use them more than three times as often as the average European.

Street salesmen, from hotdog vendors to homeless magazine sellers, have enthusiastically adopted iZette, a cheap and easy Swedish system designed to allow sole traders and small businesses to take card payments via an app and mini card-reader plugged into their phones, with many reporting sales increases of up to 30%. Even Swedish churches have adapted, displaying their phone numbers at the end of each service and asking parishioners to use Swish to drop their contribution into the virtual Sunday collection.

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