Sweden: Good News For Cash -And The Public.

Posted on: 22/03/2016

 The Riksbank - the Swedish National Bank - last week called on the Government to take action to improve public access to convenient means for the deposit and withdrawal of cash.

I applaud this courageous step by the Riksbank.

It is so easy in Sweden to buy-in to the hype of those vested interests seeking to create a  so-called "cashless society". Of course, there never will be any truly cashless society. Many will always prefer to use a physical form of cash. However, with the number of bank branches in Sweden reducing each year and many of those left having no provision for the convenient deposit and withdrawal of cash, there is no doubt that a high percentage of the Swedish public were being forced to look away from cash in order to make payments.

It is important to remember that when surveyed two years ago, over 50% of  Swedes stated that they believed being able to make payments in cash should be an inalienable human right. In other words, they were saying they wanted to be able to use cash.

Now the public, thanks to the Riksbank, look like getting their way.

I would like here to pay tribute to the pro-cash movement in Sweden. " Cash Uproar", lead by the charismatic and brilliant Bjorn Eriksson, has been pushing back against the powerful anti-cash vested interests for years. Bjorn and his supporters have nobly fought to safeguard the rights of the Swedish public. No praise is too high for the superb work they have done.

I would also like to thank the Riksbank for being open to being persuaded about the folly of Sweden's apparent head-long rush towards cashlessness.

I met with the Riksbank in January this year to highlight the serious problems associated with lack of access to cash in Sweden. I was also able to identify some possible solutions. I was very impressed with the Riksbank's willingness to listen and even more impressed that they readily conceded that they had their own concerns. If only all Central Banks were as well attuned to the needs of the public, as opposed to the commercial interests of those who seek advantage from removing cash as a payment choice.

Of course, much remains to be done. The Swedish Government now needs to take appropriate action to ensure the issues identified by the Riksbank are quickly dealt with. Every community in Sweden needs convenient access to deposit and withdrawal facilities for cash,both notes and coins.

So the work goes on, with every supporter of cash now refreshed by the knowledge that the statement by the Riksbank has turned the tide against those seeking a cashless society and in favour of those who really matter - the Swedish public.


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