Sweden is often cited as being at the vanguard of the global trend towards the elimination of cash. However, cash seems to be making a surprising comeback.
Today, Swedish lawmakers are considering enacting a legislation that will force banks to offer cash services to their customers. This move was first placed on the table early last year when a proposal for reasonable, mandatory access to cash was made.
Fast-forward to today and government will likely seek its enactment despite rejecting the Central Bank’s plea made last year. “There may be some changes, but mainly, what we proposed will be carried out… there’s a broad majority for this, so I expect it will happen.” said key lawmaker for the ruling Social Democrats, Fredrik Olovsson.
Bloomberg reported in March that the cabinet of Social Democrats and Greens declined to comment on the final shape of the legislation but confirmed a proposal submission to the Council on Legislation this spring before presenting it to parliament in the fall.
In 2018, the Swedish government launched a nationwide communication campaign preparing 4.8 million households of what to do in case of crisis and advising citizens to have enough cash stashed away. But the Nordic country doesn’t have to wait for a serious disaster to strike as people are already finding it difficult to cope. In March of this year, a 60-year old man demanded the right to pay cash at his local swimming pool in Sweden. The pool’s reception stopped taking cash payments last year after it became increasingly difficult to get change from the bank. Tourists have also been overheard complaining of the increasingly cash-free society. They were particularly unhappy about how some payment systems only worked with Swedish credit cards – leaving foreign consumers with limited options.
With the struggles imposed upon people alongside the fear of a cyber crash, citizens remain hopeful that government will move forward with their decision and ensure their right to payment options.