Let’s face it, Sweden is an amazing country. The people are great. The country is clean and safe. The summers are fantastic with twilight lasting almost all night long and sunrise just a few hours after midnight (and not setting at all up north). They speak better English than most of us do. The public transit is fantastic and works. Plus, they are more techno savvy than most nations.
Part of that being techno savvy is that they have everywhere, and I mean everywhere, functional chip-N-pin payments. Cash truly is going away and going away fast in Sweden. And not just cash, but even checks are gone as payments go digital as well and you have a “digipass” unit that you put your card into at home to generate a safe one time code for banking. Simple. Elegant and brilliant. It all just works and is secure.
So the tech exists. However in this country “we” i.e. banks and merchants cannot even offer us the security of true chip-N-pin payments for items. This really bugs me. Yes chip-N-signature is rolling out and it is better that just a card swipe but no where near as good as requiring a pin for the transaction.
This is costing us in the points game, or hobby as some call it, big time as the crooks out their are taking advantage of locations we like to frequent to make points. Remember there is nothing wrong with say buying a gift card with a travel card when you pay the fee for the card and then pay your bill. THAT is how it is supposed to work. It is when stores are on the hook from stolen cards that it hurts them and the merchant and in the end can hurt us when the merchants tell us – NO CARDS, CASH ONLY.
It case you did not know, even with the chip-N-signature, the banks have put the cost and burden on the merchants. They have done so by allowing merchants NOT to change over to chip readers but then the store, not the credit card company, assumes the liability for failed charges. The cost to upgrade, or the technology involved, is clearly slowing down the change over.
Phones could fix it all. I love technology like Apple Pay and Android Pay but even these do not require a pin. Yes, they force you to adopt better security on your phone but I would like to use a pin code each time I used these just in case someone in some way gets my phone and gets into it.
I guess it all boils down the points enthusiast inside me. I cringe each time I see anyone pay with cash or check for anything. Why in the world are they leaving so many potential points on the floor if you will. I often wonder if those who do this are the kind of people who will bend over and pick up a penny but then pay with cash vs a points card of any kind.
What do you think of all of this. Can you see the day when cash goes away as Sweden predicts it will in their country?- René
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