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Sweden Moving Towards Cashless Economy

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-pancakes-and-lingonberries dept.

The Almighty Buck 447

cold fjord writes "Sweden is rapidly moving towards a cashless economy. How will Sweden, and other countries in the future, balance efficiency, privacy, government control, and civil liberties? Or will they do all that technology allows? 'Bills and coins represent only 3 percent of Sweden's economy, compared to an average of 9 percent in the eurozone and 7 percent in the U.S. ... The Swedish Bankers' Association says the shrinkage of the cash economy is already making an impact in crime statistics. The number of bank robberies in Sweden plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — the lowest level since it started keeping records 30 years ago. It says robberies of security transports are also down. The prevalence of electronic transactions — and the digital trail they generate — also helps explain why Sweden has less of a problem with graft than countries with a stronger cash culture, such as Italy or Greece, says economics professor Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Austria. The flip side is the risk of cybercrimes. According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention the number of computerized fraud cases, including skimming, surged to nearly 20,000 in 2011 from 3,304 in 2000.'"

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Scary (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414001)

I don't care what sort of up sides it has. The government being able to track every last penny spent is far too frightening to even consider.

Re:Scary (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414051)

We understand your concern, citizen.

Here in glorious America, we will naturally let Visa track every last penny spent, because the private sector is superior, and they will simply sell that data to law enforcement, among other interested stakeholders, as part of their process of 'monetizing consumer metrics'. Free as in 'Free Market'!

Re:Scary (4, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414213)

We understand your concern, citizen.

Here in glorious America, we will naturally let Visa track every last penny spent, because the private sector is superior, and they will simply sell that data to law enforcement, among other interested stakeholders, as part of their process of 'monetizing consumer metrics'. Free as in 'Free Market'!

It's not like everyone's oblivious to the fact that when you use Visa your purchases can be tracked. I'm aware of it every single time. But right now I have a choice to use cash if I want some discretion.

Re:Scary (5, Insightful)

judoguy (534886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414293)

VISA doesn't track every penny spent. I write credit card billing software. VISA, MC, et al just get a transaction total. Only the vendor knows what was charged. VISA can look at the vendor and make assumptions, however they don't know if I bought a lot of candy bars or gas or what mixture of transactions from a Mobil station.

Re:Scary (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414605)

VISA does not know how many candy bars you bought, retail corporate does. Even back in the very early 90s I know for a fact they did, as I was getting interested in IT and our food store did complete transaction uploads nightly. Its not as much data as you'd think, even at 2400 baud. We had to upload distinct sales data anyway, think about it, otherwise how would automated push-ordering work? There were cube dwellers at corporate who's entire lives revolved around how many hamburger buns were sold the saturday of labor day or whatever.

So you are correct that VISA does not sell transaction detail records, but that doesn't mean they're not sold, it means the detail record comes from the retailer. At least it did 20 years ago.

Re:Scary (2)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414677)

Wait - 20 years ago some corporate bod knew that Mr Smith of 23 Acacia Avenue bought hamburger buns? I think not.

Re:Scary (1)

harl (84412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414443)

Don't forget that we'll pay them 2-5% of every transaction for the privilege. Up to 30% for the privilege of paying in installments.

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414611)

If you think the credit card industry is a free market than you've been asleep. Not to hard to imagine in most cases though.
 
Shouting down the free market, even if the economic sector in question isn't a free market, seems to be the new buzz phrase of the day. I wonder if I criticize Obama here if fuzzywhatever would decry me as a racist too. That's about how logical his rant seems.

Re:Scary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414063)

*shrug* I use electronic forms of currency for 99%+ (by dollar amount) of the purchases I make. Why do I want to carry cash?

Re:Scary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414071)

I don't care what sort of up sides it has. The government being able to track every last penny spent is far too frightening to even consider.

And they cherish the concept and can't wait.

Read up on Swedish FRA law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRA_law)

Re:Scary (5, Funny)

seven of five (578993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414105)

Don't worry... they're moving to Bitcoin.

Re:Scary (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414123)

I don't care what sort of up sides it has. The government being able to track every last penny spent is far too frightening to even consider.

Add to that the title of the previous story on Slashdot: The Risk of a Meltdown In the Cloud

Well. What could go wrong?

Re:Scary (2)

wild_oscar (1301993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414311)

I don't care what sort of up sides it has. The government being able to track every last penny spent is far too frightening to even consider.

Why is that any more or any less scary than a private company being able to do exactly the same thing?

Re:Scary (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414581)

I don't care what sort of up sides it has. The government being able to track every last penny spent is far too frightening to even consider.

Why is that any more or any less scary than a private company being able to do exactly the same thing?

It's not. I use cash whenever I can.

Re:Scary (-1, Redundant)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414395)

And not real money.

The Fed devalued the dollar by 97% since its creation (about 4% per year; basically a tax on your savings by the bankers). It will be even easier once there's no paper and just bits floating back-and-forth between credit cards. We need to get back to sound money that "connects" to something of constant value, like gold or land. Something that can not be destroyed through the Fed's rampant printing.

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414491)

"The Fed devalued the dollar by 97% since its creation "

My God, you idiot, this is called inflation. Use the right term. You moronic Ron Apul supporters parrot this like it is some freaking secret. Things cost more over time in dollar terms. But guess what. Income goes up in dollar terms as well. Buy a bar of gold, marry it, drill a hole in it and make love to it all you want. But going back to the gold standard would be the most idiotic financial decision ever made. Now go take some economic classes and stop getting your education from conspiracy theory websites.

Re:Scary (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414597)

Monetary lesson: Our economy is based on goods and services. Money is only a medium for the exchange of those items. What you are suggesting is really going back to a barter system.

Second lesson: The "devaluation" that you speak of is called inflation. Yes, over time an individual dollar is worth less. We also make more of these dollars for our time. This is not some giant conspiracy.

Third lesson: Gold and land do not have a constant value. That is complete lunacy. Like every other good and service its value is relative to other goods and services

Fourth lesson: If you want to use gold as a curency, go for it. It doesn't change the underlying issue that it only stands in for the goods and/or services you wish to buy/sell.

Re:Scary (3, Interesting)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414401)

You know, it might be a completely alien thought to some (most?) Americans but some countries have citizens / subjects that trust their government to represent and protect their interests.

Re:Scary (-1, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414467)

You know, it might be a completely alien thought to some (most?) Americans but some countries have citizens / subjects that trust their government to represent and protect their interests.

They're the ones who end up in the Gulags when the government turns out to be untrustworthy.

Re:Scary (4, Funny)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414551)

Yes, because gulags are a real problem in countries like Sweden.

Re:Scary (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414603)

That's all fine and good, but when when your "interest" is freedom... more government usually only takes that away.

Re:Scary (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414625)

You know, it might be a completely alien thought to some (most?) Americans but some countries have citizens / subjects that trust their government to represent and protect their interests.

Good for them. Really, if their government really does represent their interests, it is good for them. But that does not describe the United States government unless you are quite wealthy or a corporation.

Re:Scary (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414537)

I don't care what sort of up sides it has. The government being able to track every last penny spent is far too frightening to even consider.

Agreed. I often think that those cheering on a cashless society have little imagination.

A few years ago (3, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414009)

Finland was even ahead of [vrl-financial-news.com] Denmark and Sweden on this front. Anyone with an up-to-date comparison between different countries?

Re:A few years ago (2)

vipw (228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414159)

I also wonder about the Netherlands. In many places cash isn't accepted, and you can't even use physical currency in banks.

Re:A few years ago (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414203)

I've also heard USA banks are the last system to use checks, or paper checks anyway.
So... what does a bank office do, if it doesn't handle paper checks or coins? Is it more of a sales office for loans and such?

Re:A few years ago (2)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414297)

"So... what does a bank office do"
They charge you money to look after your money for you and handle the transfer of that money to others.
In other words they charge you £10 a month for (I exaggerate here but) a very simple script someone wrote many years ago and a small amount of database space. In return they also get the inconvenience of having your money in their hands.

In this free market I wonder if I could start my own bank?

Re:A few years ago (1)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414305)

We still use plenty of paper checks here in Brasil too.

Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (3, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414011)

Cashless means dangerous should our electronic web collapse. As long as cash currency is accepted it's always best to keep something on hand. Woe be the day we loose our paper or coin currency completely.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414039)

That's why I always carry around a few small gold nuggets in case I need to pick up a bag of rice or a horse or something.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414129)

real gold or fools gold? You're better off collecting some govt issued silver and gold coins. A known commodity.
China issued a pretty cool set of 1/10 ounce animal coins last decade ("year of the rat" etc)
Back when the dollar was worth more and you could buy a 1/10th oz for something like $40 this was not a huge investment, since the dollar has tanked the same amount of gold costs over $150 now which is getting a little ridiculous.
I suppose it depends where you live, but safe deposit boxes are usually pretty cheap.. enough gold to fill a "tiny" box means you're quite wealthy.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414501)

real gold or fools gold?

There's little difference given a sufficient population of fools. ;-)

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414659)

Gold is a terrible currency, the most overvalued material on earth. It has almost no real value. Its only practical use is as a corrosion resistant connector in basic electronics.

The currency that has had the most steady value in terms of a laborers wage over the last 4 thousand years is beer.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414529)

Is the horse for eating or riding? Just wondering!

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (2)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414101)

Not only that, but what do you do if an emergency (severe weather, flooding, etc) knocks the power out and you need to buy supplies? I don't think debit or credit are very useful in that sort of situation.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414173)

Shocking I know, but stores can actually still process credit transactions when the phone lines are down. It isn't fun for anyone involved, and some small number of people actually freak out when you go to put their card the the "ka-chunker", but it isn't as if the older way of doing things are completely gone.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414517)

But no store is ever going to do that if they can't verify that your account is in good standing. Same with checks. The few stores that still accept checks always verify them electronically first. And a credit card wouldn't be nearly as safe as a check, considering writing a bad check is still a criminal offense (in the U.S.).

Cards without embossed numbers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414671)

some small number of people actually freak out when you go to put their card the the "ka-chunker"

Cards without embossed numbers, such as Chase Slate credit cards and prepaid gift cards, don't work in the "ka-chunker".

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

vipw (228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414207)

In these situations, the supplies are not available for sale anyway. There isn't even food available. The nature of JIT inventory systems means that most cities don't even have more than a week's worth of food.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414337)

Which is why you get there early, before everyone else gets the food, and beat off/stab/shoot anyone who gets in your way.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414393)

Which is why you get there early, before everyone else gets the food, and beat off/stab/shoot anyone who gets in your way.

Gross

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414519)

Like they're zombies.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

vipw (228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414179)

I don't think physical currency is going to help much after global thermonuclear war. Because that is the only thing that would collapse the modern electronic infrastructure, right?

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414531)

Super virus that could cross platforms and evade all detetction could do it too... and although very unlikely, is probably more likely than global thermonuclear war.

Some idiot genius with a computer hell bent on destroying civilization and bringing it to anarchy. There are one or two of those on slash dot.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414187)

When you think about it, if the banking sector collapses, cash currency also suffers from the same problem. If you're talking about the collapse of the electronic web, it's not all that implausible that the banking sector may go with it. In these cases, even gold won't do - the best thing to have would be tradeable consumable goods. That means guns, ammo, canned food, and toilet paper.

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414383)

Cashless means dangerous should our electronic web collapse. As long as cash currency is accepted it's always best to keep something on hand. Woe be the day we loose our paper or coin currency completely.

What exactly does "Woe be the day" mean?

Re:Woe Be The Day Cash Becomes Illegal (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414489)

I just plan on trading use of my body for goods and services should the electronic web collapse. Figure someone would be willing to provide monetary equivalence for an electrifying time with a balding mid-thirty-something.

Meanwhile... (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414015)

Visa and MasterCard couldn't be happier.

Re:Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414405)

Actually, most transactions in European countries seem to happen within internal networks, not Visa/Mastercard. Here in Norway, all the banks are partners in BankAxept, which is a debit solution with no customer fees and no lower limit (and apparently rather cheap for the stores, too). Typically, you get a Visa+BankAxept debit card, and some credit card (I got a Mastercard) when you open an account.

In other words, Visa doesn't see a cent (ok, øre) until I leave the country.

SOCIALISM OR BARBARISM! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414037)

Workers revolution is the only solution! Forward to communism! Throw capitalism in the garbage can where it belongs!

Great, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414041)

as long as we only have VISA and MasterCard a court order in the US can still stop us from donating to Wikileaks.

I've been "cashless" for ~5 years (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414053)

I never carry it, just by debit cards. An additional benefit is that all your expenses are right there on paper via bank statements so you can evaluate your spending habits. I'd say that 95-99% of the time it's not a problem for my lifestyle, but I do have to hit up an ATM occasionally for the car wash. Now, when it sucks is when you don't realize you'll need cash (cover charge at a door), vending machine snacks, etc.

I can see it not working for younger people and their more dynamic, partying lifestyles but it works well at the micro level.

Re:I've been "cashless" for ~5 years (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414175)

Huh. The automated car washes in my area all take credit cards. Or I go to the hand wash if the car is due for a good detailing.

My whole life goes through a single card that gives me points. I get a few hundred dollars a year in free stuff from amazon.

Re:I've been "cashless" for ~5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414259)

> An additional benefit is that all your expenses are right there on paper via bank statements
Sadly, that's not a free benefit given that card operators get per-transaction fees. For them, a cashless economy must be a dream come true since absolutely everything any consumer buys anywhere makes them money.

Re:I've been "cashless" for ~5 years (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414403)

Myself, and most people I know just carry their debit card and ID around with them, along with $20 cash for incidentals. This works out ok even going to bars, because between two people, $40 will generally pay the cover for a small group of people, and you end up being paid in return with drinks. I'll keep $100 at the house for emergencies, but any place that requires more than $20 for a single transaction will take plastic these days.

Re:I've been "cashless" for ~5 years (3, Insightful)

harl (84412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414493)

I actually view that as a downside. Why should I pay visa 2-5% of every transaction for the privilege of selling my spending habits to others. Of which I see no profit.

So how do they intend to handle... (3, Insightful)

NorthWestFLNative (973147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414079)

Small transactions, power failures, and computer and network outages. Not every business will accept a check.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414217)

Checks are more or less dead in Sweden.
It costs you roughly 8 USD to use a check at the bank here.
I have not even seen one for 15 years.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414253)

Wait 10mins for the power/network to come back online? And does anyone at all accept checks? I don't think any of my banks even issues checkbooks anymore.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414663)

Wait 10mins for the power/network to come back online?

Power was out in much of our city for over two hours recently, and our end of town was down for nearly eight hours a few years back. If you're processing cards 'in the cloud', it could easily be down for a day or more next leap year.

Last year we went to the supermarket to buy some food for the weekend and the power was out. I think we ended up having to pay cash.

You just don't realize how important power is until you're without it for hours.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414255)

What is the problem with handling small transactions? I don't know about sweeden, but in Denmark a trannsaction will cost you something like 70 øre(14 cent), if it it less then 50 dkk(10$)

Network/computer outages is a problem, but I think the downtime is something less then an hour each year, so you will just have to wait if you hit that downtime.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414279)

Sorry, the above post don't make any sense. That prise is for internet trade. If you buy with your card in a shop using your pin then payment is free because the price(5 cent) is paid by the shop. Which is still cheeper for then shop then handling cash.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (2)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414413)

Here in Brasil, I've heard that the card companies take ~1% of each transaction. So it's common that stores won't accept anything but cash for cigarrettes (as their margin of profit is thin, so they say).

Also, uptime is a major problem. When I used to go out at saturday nights, systems were always "timing out".

Still better than carrying money around, if you ask me

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414303)

But soon they will. In Germany, public transport, supermarkets, any shops and restaurants will accept a debit card under a uniform debt card system called EC (Electronic Cash).

The only thing one does need cash is for microtransactions - very small purchases from kiosks or coffee shops (Upto 5 Euro). Low adoption there seems to be primarily because the debt card-pin-receipt printing method is significantly slower than just dropping a euro coin for a beer. However, I believe as the speedier near-field technologies like Google Wallet catch up, cash will be a thing of the past.

Disclaimer : This is a comment on the practical usage of cashless payment systems. This is not a comment on private or government monitoring of transactions, your personal opinion on Google's monopoly and threat to the free market, or about how things are better in Europe, or about whether you personally feel that the time required to pay by debt card is not a big deal and how we are 'oh so entitled' because we want to save the 60 seconds.

Re:So how do they intend to handle... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414349)

I was recently standing in line at a walgreens (its theoretically a pharmacy but most sale volume is convenience/beauty store items). Windy thunderstorm, power goes out.
Manager walks thru line, if you have cash you stay in line and pay cashier who is using calculator and flashlight, if not, escorted to door.
I had cash, bought my stuff.

Apparently a large enough fraction of the populace to be a "serious" problem, waits until their medication is gone, and that very hour the bottle is empty, they walk from their senior apartment to walgreens to refill. Must be the same idiots who run out of gas on the highway. Cops and social workers got involved, multiple taxis arrive to ferry old people to next closest walgreens with electrical power. Crisis rate was about 3 people (all coincidentally elderly) per hour of outage. Presumably younger people with cars drove themselves rather than involving social workers and cops etc etc? Made the news, at least locally.

I am just barely old enough to remember the kerchunk machines (thats why the numbers on your CC are embossed instead of just printed on...) also old enough to remember the crooks who would collect the used carbon papers for nefarious purposes. That tech is apparently gone, or at least corporate policy prevents its use. Probably because its hard to deal with credit vs debit cards offline... what do you do, call the bank on a cellphone? Thats not going to scale when half the city has a power fail at the same time.

Some disadvantages as well... (3, Interesting)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414087)

I agree there are many advantages to a cashless society but one weakness has bothered me for a while. I've personally gone mostly cashless over the last few years and have several times been unable to give anything to a homeless person. At times in the past I've offered food or bought someone a hamburger but there's not always the time or access to nearby vendors, cash is the easiest way to give a little help.

Also just yesterday I met a kid selling candy bars for his school fundraiser and wasn't able to help out there. It's almost like you have to give them card readers these days.

Re:Some disadvantages as well... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414183)

That's what I came here to say. Also, what about trades between friends? If I buy two concert tickets, how does my friend give me the money for them? How would you sell things on Craigslist?

Re:Some disadvantages as well... (1)

damienl451 (841528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414367)

Electronic payments work pretty well in most countries. You'd just send your friend your account number and they'd transfer the money.

Re:Some disadvantages as well... (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414555)

Here in Norway we mostly transfer the ammount to the friends account, which is quick and easy to do though internet banking. If I have paied something moderately big (above ~100$) for a friend and he/she is reimbursing me, its actually kindof annoying if he/she comes with a big pile of cash which takes ages to use up - as cash is mostly used for small things like buying a beer or a soda machine (which anyhow only accept coins, but note that the first note is just below 10$, and the highest coin is 3-4$).

Re:Some disadvantages as well... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414497)

Also just yesterday I met a kid selling candy bars for his school fundraiser and wasn't able to help out there. It's almost like you have to give them card readers these days.

My daughter's girl scout troop theoretically only accepts personal checks for their cookies... making it a waste of time to rob one of the girls. Also makes it kind of obvious if a buyer rips the girls off by giving the wrong (low) amount of money. In practice rather than practice, if you insist on handing her cash, I trade my daughter one of my personal checks in exchange for cash, which I guess makes me a money launderer.

My guess is, that kid asking for cash, probably has to give the cash to his dad in exchange for dad's check...

Given the PITA that is cookie selling and distributing, and the small amount of money raised, I would have preferred to skip the whole thing and give money directly to her troop...

(Tangentially Related Note: I donno if its luck or hopefully morality, but since the boy scouts went whacko and became a wing of the neocons and all that, participation has dropped in my hometown from most boys to practically no one over the past 20 years. The girl scouts, who are not whackos, still pull in about 1/2 of the girls. just passing along a datapoint)

Sen. Bob Dole is spinning in his grave... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414103)

...or he would be if he were dead.

FTS: " helps explain why Sweden has less of a problem with graft than countries with a stronger cash culture"

Sen. Dole takes out ~$10,000 in cash every couple of weeks, and admits is because he doesn't want anyone knowing how or where he spends is money. He even got investigated (briefly, politely) because of suspected money laundering due to his somewhat unusual volume of withdrawals.

I'm mixed on this. I would never want cash to go away; there are some things I just don't want records of. And it's not even the "you spend $100 at a strip club" stuff - I have no desire to track, or have tracked, little shit like a candy bar or a coffee, or the $20 I give the neighbor kid to mow my lawn while I'm away. But man, I love me the convenience of credit cards.

Re:Sen. Bob Dole is spinning in his grave... (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414291)

There are ways to do electronic cash that is at least as anonymous as real cash. Note that its really hard to be truly anonymous. After all you have to give the cash to someone. Or take it out from somewhere.

Re:Sen. Bob Dole is spinning in his grave... (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414431)

"But man, I love me the convenience of credit cards."
But then there's always the convenience of cash to love. By the time you've put in your card, entered the pin and it's thought about it for a while, then waited for the receipt to print it's quicker to have just counted out the money and be done with it.
Now if they could make the contactless stuff a bit more secure then I might be interested but I'll often use cash when I'm in a hurry...

What about WOW gold? (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414119)

Bills and coins represent only 3 percent of Sweden's economy, compared to an average of 9 percent in the eurozone and 7 percent in the U.S

Sooo... it's more like *everybody* is moving toward a cashless economy, and Sweden is just closest? Um, yay, I guess? Maybe?

From the title I thought they were moving toward the Star Trek utopia with no money at all, and the economy is based on, um, well, I guess that's in one of the tech manuals somewhere.

the flip side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414151)

the flip side of electronic money is 1) total government control. Not just government - we've seen how Visa affected Wikileaks, for example. Wouldn't have happened with cache. And 2) at least in the US model it's essentially debt money. That's the nature of how fractional banking operates. And debt money sounds bad

It's About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414157)

Physical currency is an archaic means of financial transactions. In our time we have no need for physical money, checks, or any of that stuff. Cashless means less crime, period. The internet is not going to crash, and our tech age is only getting better. I say down with paper money, it will save the world a lot of expense not having to keep fresh and valid currency in circulation.

Re:It's About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414215)

But the Slashdot luddites might get tracked by "da gubmint"! Oh noes!

Greedy banks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414169)

All other benefits/drawbacks aside, our banks will sure love this.
Right now they are all advocating to use more card transactions but the shops/stores are resisting.

The reason? The bank will charge a percentage on the card purchase where as the cash payment is free.
On the other hand the store will have to buy cash to use for change.

What bugs me the most is that of the banks were to lower the rate for card purchase or even remove it, all the shops/stores in turn will promote the use of cards since that will lower their cost and risk.

This would in turn reduce the amount of cash and the costly handling of it for the banks. Less risk of robbery and similar benefits.

And yet.. (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414273)

Brits are using withdrawing money from ATMs more than ever [bbc.co.uk] . Let's face it, with card fees and lack of privacy, cash will never fully go away.

Re:And yet.. (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414631)

I wouldn't be so sure. The Scottish Government is already proposing to ban cash payments for scrap metal [bbc.co.uk] , in an (in my opinion futile) attempt to combat the trade in stolen materials.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was the first in a long line of laws that will end up eliminating cash payments for most things, for the supposed sake of crime prevention.

I've been okay with the elimination of cash for things like parking meters or buses - anything where having a pocket full of change is generally required, or there's a logistical cost in accepting cash - and it's obviously not feasible to accept cash online, where a huge amount of business is done these days. But I think the outlawing of cash payments is a step too far.

What about weed? (5, Insightful)

TheTruthIs (2499862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414285)

How will we buy weed in a cashless society where marijuana is illegal?

Re:What about weed? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414377)

The barter system. I'll trade you my pet goat for X amount of weed.

Re:What about weed? (1)

Kurrel (1213064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414407)

Sell treasure maps to bags of 'potpourri' or 'green tea' on ebay?

Re:What about weed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414457)

Barter, really. But.. it would amuse the fuck out of me if instead they moved to things like bearer bonds or marketable government debt.

explains why they have less trouble with graft (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414317)

No, it does not explain why they have less trouble with graft. Scandinavian countries had less trouble with graft than Italy or Greece before there was even a concept of a cashless economy. It is a cultural thing. It is even possible that the same cultural factors that led them to have less trouble with graft also contribute to them moving so easily towards a cashless economy.

Re:explains why they have less trouble with graft (2)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414623)

"... The pronounced Swedish inclination to keep order bore strange fruit. A German refugee who stayed in Norway in the 1930s, fled to Sweden when Norway was occupied in 1940. He was arrested in Sweden and the encounter with the police there differed a lot from what he was used to from the Norwegian police. "What I supposed was meant to be a routine series of questions and answers, ended with my being arrested. My declarations did not seem to satisfy the officers. The examination was repeated during the following days. (...) The cell was so clean, it shined. It literally smelled as if it had been sterilized..."

"... The aim of internment was to assimilate these people into a pattern that fit in with the ideal conception of a typical Swede, from the perspective of the Swedish authorities. There were two camps, the one at Långmora and another at Smedsbo, where different categories of deviates were placed. As Jörg Lindner (1994) has underscored in a path breaking article, the Swedish authorities were less concerned about the internee’s political viewpoint. What made internment necessary was that these people were homosexuals, kleptomaniacs, alcoholics, fathers who did not pay alimony and child support, or people who seemed to shy away from the work-world, etc. In addition to these deviances, many were either social democrats or communists. In fact, both camps were reformatories and the people who were interned in them were disciplined in order to adopt the Swedish norms and values. The camps were almost what Erving Goffman (1961) and Michel Foucault (1977) referred to as total institutions. They made use of four techniques in their efforts to change individual behaviour: 1. The rules of order in the camps deprived the internees of all distinguishing personal marks of identity. The individuality of internees was simply not allowed. As in all total institutions, the inmates had to wear uniforms and cut their hair to prescribed lengths and styles, etc. The German refugees who were interned in the Swedish camps felt that they were being treated unjustly by Swedish authorities. "We are punished, but we have not been informed about what we are accused of (). This is a form of treatment that even criminals are able to avoid." German refugees were systematically degraded, discriminated against, disciplined and punished. There were body searches, a ban on correspondence and visits, and the routine subjection to a degrading regimen. In addition to the camp leader and his staff, there were uniformed and armed guards patrolling the camp grounds. 2. Rigorous time schedules were enforced. The internees were to learn how to live an ordered life that was synchronised to ideal Swedish time patterns. 3. A work regime was established in order to habituate the internees to the (supposed) expectations found in the Swedish work-world. What we might identify as German eggheads were to be transformed into hard-working lumbermen, and this sometimes meant being required to cut wood at – 30oC. 4. Work behaviour and work results were keenly monitored and reported. The idea was to document the individual internee’s progression according to prescribed plans, and to correct unintended deviations from those plans by systematic observation and record-keeping. The internee’s progress in cutting wood was written down on paper designed for logarithmic calculations..."

A Comparative Look at Scandinavian Cultures: Denmark, Norway and Sweden and Their Encounters with German Refugees, 1933-1940 [www.immi.se]

for you, a special price (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414331)

you can have this car for 2 blondes a month.

Japan is mostly cashless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414439)

They have some electronic wallet type system... which makes it actually hard for foreigners to go around in Japan, because there are very places to withdraw cash, and what more, most places take the electronic wallet, but not credit cards.

Why is crime rate even mentioned? (4, Insightful)

MailtoDelete (863627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414453)

Whenever you hear of someone pushing to get rid of hard currency, they mention the decrease in crime... Yet the numbers here don't show me anything compelling. They show an 85.5% decrease in reported crimes relating to hard currency, and then gloss over a 505% increase in digital monetary crime. That's such a poor point to argue, why even mention it?

Re:Why is crime rate even mentioned? (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414577)

That's such a poor point to argue, why even mention it?

Because there's no legitimate reason for eliminating cash, so they have to make something up.

If not for patents we would probably be using anonymous digital cash right now, but they delayed the introduction so long that credit cards ended up being the primary means of purchasing online.

Crime moves if currency moves (2)

mapuche (41699) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414459)

Here in Mexico the banks started to increase the number of debit cards, less people with cash means less robery, but an increase in "fast kidnappings". Basically they kidnap anyone randomly using any vehicle, being a taxi the most usual and in 3-4 hours visiting banks they empty you bank accounts.

Re:Crime moves if currency moves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414525)

Kidnap a swede and the swede kills you. Seriously, we don't care about those who don't care about us.

New Form of Currency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414475)

Those who require cash for less scrupulous purchases will find new forms of currency, simple as that.

http://boingboing.net/2012/03/13/tide-is-the-new-currency-on-th.html

A dime bag will now be know as a tide bag

Sounds great.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414487)

So I can send someone else money for free? I can accept money for free? etc?

Without zero cost transactions it's an epic fail.

Re:Sounds great.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414643)

In Sweden (and probaby many other European countries), wire transfers are free, at least non-international ones.

Low cash use does NOT mean cashless (1)

drstevep (2498222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414533)

Bills and coins only represent 3 percent of the economy. Engineers are only a small percentage of our population, does this mean we are moving towards an engineer-less economy?

Please don't confuse a balanced equation with an absolute endpoint. The balance between two models will shift back and forth, but both will always be with us.

I just did guy swedish bills... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414549)

Oh the irony...

Seen the pathetic state of both the U.S. and Europe's public debts, I don't hold much faith anymore in neither the USD nor the EUR. So what I don't own in real-estate / art / cars I changed to gold and... foreign currencies. Funnily enough I've got about 10% in swedish bills (physical bills, in a safe, getting me 0% of interest and inflation is screwing me, but as of now I consider it safer than any other plan *seen that I already have real-estate / art / etc.).

Oh well, I probably still have some time before they remove the bills out of the system ; )

So's the US. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414553)

We've been moving towards a debt based economy for a while now.

Black Market trade (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414565)

Will still be using cash, even when forced to use a foreign currency or plain gold. Maybe the "official economy" will become cashless, but unless you can make a direct barter deal, some form of currency will still be used to exchange goods or services.

peter sunde (pirate bay founder) on the topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414579)

why we need cash [wired.co.uk]
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