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Sunday, April 7, 2024 | Back issues
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Sweden studies how to save cash from extinction

The Swedish government wants to make sure cash can still be used to buy food, fuel and medicine.

STOCKHOLM (AFP) — The Swedish government said Friday it wants to ensure cash can be used for basic necessities as electronic payments come to dominate transactions in the Scandinavian country.

Only 8% of Swedes had used cash for recent purchases in 2022 compared to 40% in 2010, according to a survey by the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank.

"We need to quickly take another look at being able to pay for certain things in cash, in particular there are groups, for various reasons, have trouble with electronic payment methods," said Financial Markets Minister Niklas Wykman.

He said the ability to use cash is also important in case of a crisis.

The government said this was shown by the rare cash machines in service seeing a 30% jump in withdrawals following the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Such a trend was also seen in several other European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, according to the European Cash Management Companies Association.

The government, which has launched a parliamentary panel on the subject, believes it should be possible to pay cash for certain products such as food, fuel and medicines.

"It is difficult to pay with cash in Sweden today," said the head of the parliamentary commission, Dennis Dioukarev, who noted 1 million Swedes are excluded from the digital world.

He said it is important that there be more than one payment system available, especially during a crisis.

Sweden's civil protection agency still recommends citizens keep cash available, although most Swedes now consider physical money an anachronism. 

The parliamentary commission is expected to present its proposals by the end of the year.

© Agence France-Presse

Categories / Economy, Financial, International

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