Payments Report 2021

Pandemic hastening development towards digital payments

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Digitalisation has raised the question of the state’s role on the payment market

Published: 3 November 2021

Technological advances, new actors and digitalisation of payments have brought to a head the question of the future role of the state in the payment market. One cannot rule out the possibility that cash will become irrelevant in Sweden, if private persons no longer use it and retailers choose not to accept it. Even if cash does not completely disappear, a situation in which cash is no longer generally accepted as a means of payment would be tantamount to a cashless society. If nothing is done to counteract this development, it will probably lead to the general public no longer having access to generally-accepted central bank money, that is, cash. The Riksbank has expressed concern over this potential development.

In December 2020, the Government appointed a commission of inquiry to make a broad survey of developments on the payment market and analyse the future role of the state. The remit of the inquiry included surveying how the payment market looks now and may look in the future, based on developments in Sweden and other countries. The inquiry is to examine whether the Riksbank needs to issue an e-krona, and to review the concept of the term legal tender in a world where cash is used less and less. The inquiry is also to survey the allocation of roles on the payment market between the state and the private sector and to take a stance on the future role of the state within payments. The inquiry is to present its report by 30 November 2022.