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Sweden in 2018: one step closer to cashless

By Christina Lind, Sweden Country Manager • Visa

January 10, 2018

Swedish consumers are in the driving seat for change. The preference for digital commerce in Sweden is clear: figures from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm show that only 18% of all payments made today in Sweden are in cash – a 15% drop from the previous year. Meanwhile figures from the Swedish Trade Federation show that most Swedish retailers say that 80% of their commerce is from card payments. A number that probably will be 90% by 2020.

Such is the appetite for digital commerce in Sweden that many predict it could become the world’s first cashless society. For instance, Niclas Arvidsson at the Royal Institute of Technology suggests Sweden could be cashless as soon as 2023. Even the Swedish Central Bank (Riksbanken) expects that Sweden will be considered a cashless society by 2030. Indeed, in 2017 Riksbanken oversaw a major coin and bill replacement project in response to the decline in cash use. Furthermore, the idea of creating the krona in an electronic format (E-krona) is already being explored.

Of course, Visa is at the forefront of this change. Partnerships launched in 2017 with Samsung Pay (March), and Apple Pay (October) have encouraged consumers to explore contactless and mobile payments – taking Swedish consumers beyond traditional card use. Furthermore, Visa has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging innovation and investing in the future of Fintech. In addition to our investment in Klarna in June 2017, we’ve also established Visa Innovation Centers and studios all around the world. In particular, we have launched the Visa Innovation Studio at the Stockholm Fintech Hub, a space where we can work together with network partners, clients, retailers and developers to create the next generation of digital commerce.

Finally, we rounded up 2017 with our first Visa Network Breakfast seminar – the first in a series of talks held at our Innovation Studio in Stockholm on the future of payments solutions. In our first talk Bengt Nilervall from The Swedish Trade Federation and Gustav Almqvist from Reitangruppen joined me and journalist Mats Lewan on stage in a discussion about the next step in contactless payments for Swedish retail.

2017 was a year where Swedish consumers moved even further away from cash use to embrace newer payment methods, and Visa opened up its system to encourage innovation. If Sweden is due to become the world’s first cashless society, Visa will help lead the way – focusing on collaboration and co-creation to help drive the future of digital commerce. 2018 promises to be an exciting year!

This article contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that relate to, among other things, our future operations, prospects, developments, strategies and business growth. Forward-looking statements generally are identified by words such as "believes," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may," "projects," “could," "should," "will," "continue" and other similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact could be forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control and are difficult to predict. We describe risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, any of these forward-looking statements in our filings with the SEC. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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