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Sweden predicts end of cash in 5 years – “we” can’t even have chip-N-pin payments!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

swedish kronor sek and us dollars usd renespoints blog
Could you live in a cashless world?

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.

swedish digipass plus money kronor renespoints blog
I want a “DigiPass” for my banking here!

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




Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Ain’t happenin’ in the US anytime soon, which I think is good. This is too much government control. I like my paper money, even if I don’t use much of it.

  2. I agree with almost everything you say in this post, René – Sweden and Swedes are great, banking technology in the US is so backward it’s unbelievable.

    But, rmregarding Apple Pay – thumbprint verification is way more secure than a PIN so there’s really no need for the additional. Asking users to enter a PIN for each transaction would kill it off. For example, imagine the queues at the gates on the London Underground if everyone was having to enter a PIN!

    I live in the UK where, after some initial scepticism, contactless cards are now really taking off. Personally I love their ease of use and I’m happy with the security the banks offer: occasional secondary PIN verification required, and transactions limited to £30 (although I think this is too low).

  3. I do not see the Cashless day here, unless we switch over to a system of collecting taxes using VAT instead of income tax. Right now there is too much incentive for people not to report income and there is a large underground economy here in the USA. Also, we tip for almost everything. How would you tip the car attendant $2 for getting your car? Or the Barrister at Starbucks? Or the coatcheck girl? etc.?
    Our society is quite different from European society. Life is much more frenetic here and I don’t see us trying to become more like Europe. So I will keep my rubber band and wrap it around the few dollars that I have left….

  4. Maybe with everyone paying their fair share of taxes these people will make a decent wage and will not have to rely on tips. ( you could still tip, just put it on a card.) Make a dollar spend a dollar, But it’s all on the card.
    I personally think taxes could be slashed to a 1/4, Stop “how much for cash” , Stop Drug smugglers, No need for a fence, Who’s going to sneak over the border with no way of making money or for that fact robbing someone. Less people in prison, less court time, you could go on for ever, BUT then again the government would have access to money earned and money spent. ( if you have nothing to hide, why worry)
    The day is coming and maybe it could be of a benefit in our lifetime.

  5. Santastico Reply

    It amazes me how many people still writes a check to pay for goods in stores. I usually “luck out” at Costco where there is always someone in front of me that writes a check and takes the time to make sure the balance is correct at the end of the check book. For that and other reasons mentioned above I don’t see the Us adopting any new technologies soon.

  6. Backward? We are IN THE STONE AGE!

    I got a new card yesterday, with the letter reminding to scrawl my SIGNATURE IN THE TINY PANEL ON THE BACK OF THE CARD!

    Americans prefer security theater to the real thing.

  7. Unfortunately the end of cash will make it easier for banks to implement negative interest rate policies (NIRP) on retail depositors, should they decide it necessary, and there won’t be any cash to stash away to protect oneself.

  8. I’m still amazed that my new AX and Chase cards with chip do not have a PIN availability. What good is the chip if someone steals your card? The merchant never asks for ID so any stolen card can be used anywhere. If they had a PIN requirement that would really keep security at it’s best.

  9. Yes! Plat, Gold or Silver Bars – certainly not Plat, gold or silver status. 🙂

    I’ll have to get lucky with one of your swag giveaways to protect myself!!

  10. My son is in the banking business and he has been telling me for years that cash is a figment of my imagination. I have emailed this article to him so he can say, “I told you so” even if it is only seemingly so in Sweden. But, then again, I still carry a “dumb” phone because I have such a hard time reading the small screen on the smart phones I haven’t wanted to convert.

  11. So, here’s the thing I don’t get. Whenever I travel outside the US and use my chip & signature card (or Barclays Chip and sometimes PIN), I don’t perceive the same amount of transaction delay that I do here. I will say that I’ve found Kroger to be pretty quick, and Target is much faster than it was at the beginning. Maybe it’s just me….but beyond the cost of buying the readers, which I appreciate, I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s like we are re-inventing the EMV wheel just for the USA. I wonder what gives?

  12. Cash Me Out Reply

    Going cashless will be the end of what we have or poses. It will bring a total reset. Now… I pay for everything with cards but the idea that one day I will not have cash… someone is crazy. Because if you think about hackers (and you do know how sophisticated they are when they steal another card from you)… will one day wipe out bank accounts and put only zeros in place of your e-money… What will happen? TOTAL chaos. People without their savings… zero, null. So yeah… just like Sweden is not safe anymore, cashless Sweden will be the first victim, too.

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