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No Cash Accepted - Rising Trend Across Europe

Wednesday 28th February 2018

"The rising trend of "no cash accepted" as European currency goes electronic"

Sweden is the most cashless society in the world. Many shops, restaurants and museums are increasingly displaying "no cash accepted" signs, according to Bloomberg. Sweden's transport system, like London only accepts card or mobile payments in a bid to improve safety for staff.

In 2013 the Swedish banks made a decision to reduce handling cash, now 75% of banks no longer offer cash services. Sweden's cash circulation peaked in 2007 at 97bn SEK and is now at 55.6bn SEK, the reduction has been accelerating, between 2015 and 2017 19.3bn SEK or 25% of Sweden's cash was removed from circulation and less than 20% of transactions are now in cash compared to a world average of 75%.

Much of Europe is following suit. Denmark and Norway are hot on the heels of Sweden with declining cash circulation and a general move away from cash to cheaper and safer electronic payment options.

While London has adopted Sweden's cashless transport system, the rest of the UK isn't racing towards a cashless future and the same pace as Scandinavia. According to the Bank of England, the cash circulation figures are going up, however, cash transactions are falling at 10% per year. Card payments toppled cash as the most widely used means of payment last year.

Germany and Italy, despite being notoriously slow to adopt new payment methods are also seeing a slow move away from cash. In Italy its primarily a crime avoidance method.

The Netherlands is also one of the most cashless societies in the world according to the European Payments Council. Large retailers are starting to refuse accepting cash.

While mobile payments are being rapidly adopted by younger people it appears that these are largely an alternative way to use a card. While convenient, they don't yet have their own USP. So it seems that cash is no longer King, card is King and its reign looks long.