Sweden Aims For a Cashless Future

January 25, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cashless /ˈkæʃlɪs/ (adj.) – without cash
ExampleCashless shopping is very convenient because it requires only a credit card.

2. retail /ˈriteɪl/ (adj.) – refers to selling goods in small amounts
Example: The retail store in our village sells many kinds of canned goods.

3. debit card /ˈdɛbɪt kɑrd/ (n.) – a card used to pay for purchases by accessing one’s bank account
ExampleRon’s savings account was charged with $100 after paying the store through a debit card.

4. burglar /ˈbɜrglər/ (n.) – a robber who enters a house or building
Example: The police caught the burglar who tried to rob our house.

5. impose /ɪmˈpoʊz/ (v.) – to force something to a person
Example: The bank imposes a big penalty for late payments.


Read the text below.
Sweden is adopting the idea of being a cashless country.

According to the European Central Bank, only 27 percent of retail sales in Sweden use money. Around 70 percent of the transactions in the country are done by cards or through smartphones. Most buses and stores even require people to pay with debit cards.

Also, people who sell Situation Stockholm magazines now carry their own debit card reader. Before this change, the magazine’s sales dropped because most people do not carry cash anymore. The magazine costs 50 kronor or $7.80.

Many Swedes welcome this cashless technology. One of the advantages of using this technology is the possible decrease in crime rate. Recently, an attempted bank robbery failed because the burglar’s chosen bank had no cash.

People would also benefit in easier transactions through electronic payments. Debit cards and credit cards are also easier and more convenient to handle as compared to cash.

However, cashless transaction still has downsides. Leif Öberg [layf EYR-beyi], development director of Swedish Salvation Army, argued that a cashless society would lead to further difficulties on poor people with no cards. An effect he cited is that some people cannot travel by bus and have to walk instead due to lack of card.

Another issue is the surcharge [SUR-chahrj] or added fees required by banks on card usage. Because of a law that banned stores from imposing the surcharge on the customers, some small stores struggle to pay for the additional fees. The elderly and unemployed citizens would also be troubled with the complete absence of cash.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of a full cashless society? Why or why not?
·      Do you think implementing this policy in your country is possible? Why is that so?

Discussion B

·         Do you think stealing can be completely eliminated from society? Why or why not?
·         How can one protect his or her belongings/properties from thieves? Kindly explain.


January 25, 2014