Payments in Sweden 2020

Cash is losing ground

Credit cards are now also more common than cash

Published: 29 October 2020

Card payments dominate in purchases in shops

Percentage of people paying by debit card, credit card or cash for their last purchase in a shop.

Figure: Card payments dominate in purchases in shops

Use the slider below the diagram to change the time interval. Download the data from the diagram by clicking on the arrow to the right, above the diagram. Source: The Riksbank

Debit cards, where money is deducted directly from a bank account, are the most common way of paying in shops regardless of the size of the payment. Cash, on the other hand, is used more frequently for smaller payments, below 100 kronor. Credit cards (where the customer pays using credit from the bank and then receives an invoice) are used more frequently as the amount increases. Since the Riksbank’s last survey of payment behaviour was conducted in 2018, credit cards have overtaken cash. Swish is seldom used for purchases in shops.

For card payments where the contactless system is not used, it has been possible to sign for payments using either PIN codes or signatures on paper receipts. In September 2019, new rules were introduced to strengthen customer authentication in the EU/EEA. Among other things, these rules aim to increase consumer protection and improve security for digital payments. During the transition period, it has been unclear how signing for transactions on paper receipts is to be handled but, as of 1 November 2020, this will no longer be accepted for card payments in Sweden using cards issued in the EU/EEA. This means that the transaction will be denied when a PIN code is unavailable for a card payment. It will still be possible to make contactless card payments for less than 400 kronor, which currently require no PIN code, as usual. Cards issued outside the EEA are not covered by the rules for strengthened customer authorisation, and it will therefore still be possible to continue to make card transactions in shops using such cards by signing a paper receipt. This also applies to card payments made in a third country using a card issued in Sweden or another EEA country.