Sweden And Norway Are Moving Toward A Cash-Free Society

BBVA Research | The payment market in Sweden and Norway is being digitized. To give an international comparison, the cash in circulation as a percentage of GDP variable is used as a proxy for the demand for cash. In 2018, the cash in these two economies was equivalent to 1.3% and 1.5% of their GDP, respectively. In contrast, in the United States and the Eurozone, this variable was at 8.2% and 10.9%, respectively.

The reduced use of cash is related to the increase in digital payments. In Sweden and Norway, the number of card payments per person is almost three times that in the Eurozone.

In 2018, 40% of Sweden’s population stated that they had not used cash in the previous month and in 2019, 18% of durable goods retailers did not accept cash (Sveriges Riksbank, 2019).

In Sweden, only 5.8% of household expenditure is paid in cashand most payments are made by card (57.6%). Since 2017, the sum of payments per capita made by mobile phone has exceeded the value of cash drawn from ATMs.

What’s next? For several years, the Bank of Sweden has been exploring the issue of digital money called the “e-krona” or “digital krona.”