Introduce a legal requirement for the banks’ cash service

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The Swedish parliament should introduce a legal requirement for the banks’ cash service. This would mean that the banks would have a clear obligation to fulfil expectations, which is to say to take their social responsibility and give their customers the service they demand. Companies and associations should also have the right to open payment accounts with basic functions. These are the proposals of the Riksbank in its consultation response on access to payment accounts with basic functions, submitted today to the Ministry of Finance.

Development is proceeding too rapidly

The payment market has long functioned well, but is now changing rapidly due to digitalisation, among other reasons. New services, such as Swish, are appearing and old ones, such as cheques, are disappearing. This development is positive in itself, but needs to take place at a rate that does not create problems for certain groups or exclude anyone from the payment market. It must be remembered that there are still situations in which there are no alternatives to cash.

 

The banks have been too quick to reduce cash handling. This has made it difficult to maintain access to cash services, primarily in sparsely-populated areas, but also elsewhere. If the banks continue to set the pace, there is a high risk that the possibility of using cash will disappear before alternative means of payment have become widespread and generally accepted. To restrain this development, the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament) should introduce a clear obligation for the banks to provide basic functions that meet customers’ needs.

Companies and associations should have the right to open payment accounts

For the payment market to be efficient from the perspectives of both society and individuals, as many participants as possible need to have access to payment accounts and payment services. This would mainly make it simpler for them to deposit cash and reduce the risk of payments being made outside the banking system, thereby reducing the risk of money laundering taking place. Companies and associations should thus have the same right as consumers to payment accounts.

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