More and more Swedes no longer use cash. In 2010, 39 per cent of the respondents in the Riksbank’s survey on payment habits in Sweden said that they paid for their most recent purchase in cash. In 2018, this figure had fallen to 13 per cent. At the same time, almost 40 per cent said that they had not used cash in the last month.
Some shops, restaurants, cafés and other companies in the services industry have stopped accepting cash. For example, almost 20 per cent of shops in the durable goods segment now no longer accept cash, according to the Swedish Trade Federation. In the non-durable goods segment, almost all traders, 98 per cent, still accept cash.
The decline in cash use is in part due to our changing purchasing habits and our use of new payment services. Swedes shop more frequently online where it is not possible to pay in cash. At the same time, new technology and new payment services are also making it easier to pay electronically in physical shops and in the services industry.
The declining cash use is making it expensive for the private market to provide cash to the whole country and could affect the flows of cash. In some places where market players no longer offer services for cash withdrawal and the depositing of daily takings, the state, via the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority and the county administrative boards, is providing economic support to “payment service agents”. There are currently 38 payment service agents who have support from the county administrative boards, an increase since 2014, when there were 20 of them. Most counties in Sweden have one or more payment service agents.