Monday, March 26, 2012

Find: One Step Closer to a Cashless Future

Only 3% of finance is cash in Sweden. Read the post story for a discussion of the downside: less privacy. 

Freakonomics

(Photo: Timo Arnall)

If you’re wondering what our cash-free future may look like — what will it do, e.g., to panhandling? — consider a trip to Sweden. The Associated Press reports on that country’s progress towards phasing out hard currency:

“In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.”

Advocates of the shift claim that the transition has decreased crime, bank robberies, and graft. “If people use more cards, they are less involved in shadow economy activities,” says Friedrich Schneider, an economics professor at Johannes Kepler University in Austria. Opponents cite concerns over credit card transaction fees, privacy, and cybercrimes.

(HT: Marginal Revolution)

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