There are no direct practical reasons, as far as I can see, to have coins and banknotes – Björn Ulvaeus

In many countries, debit and credit cards are steadily taking the place of cash in everyday transactions. In Sweden, the process has been given new momentum by a campaign to cut crime. The campaign has some high-profile supporters, including Björn.

“There are no direct practical reasons, as far as I can see, to have coins and banknotes,” he wrote in a recent blog post.

“There are obvious advantages in getting rid of them. Sweden should be able to be the first country in the world to do this.”

He said that it was “patronising” to assume that the elderly, for example, would have problems paying for goods or services over the internet or with a card.

“There are, of course, those who need help, but if as a result they run less of a risk of being robbed, then perhaps it would be worth the inconvenience,” he wrote.

Thanks to Robert Stock for the link.

BBC News: Sweden weighs benefits of ditching cash


  • Personally, I find this something of a strange topic for Björn to make a public comment on.

    And surely it’s just as patronising to assume that less well-off citizens carry what little cash they have around with them and are thus generally more vulnerable?

    For my own part, I think that the idea seems rather crazy. How can young children in any society start to understand the meaning of money, cost or value, without notes or coins as a basis for their knowledge?

    I think I prefer to hear Björn when he talks about what he knows best – music.

  • Where is this "recent blog post" so we can read it for ourselves? I’d like to see the context.

  • I’m not surprised he’s saying this about Sweden. When I was in Stockholm last year it seemed that none of the locals used cash for any purchase – even buying a cup of coffee in 7/11 they would automatically insert their bank card in the reader.

  • May be nothing in Sweden costs less than £5.

  • In Sweden, Visa for example has no fee (when buing something) however small the amount is…

  • Having lived 2 years in Berlin now (I’m a Finn), I so miss the Scandinavian efficiency when it comes to monetary transactions. Yes, you can pay practically everything with plastic there and no, most places don’t have a minimum limit. Wish I could do the same here, notes and coins are so messy. So I’m all in Björn’s favor!

  • Using debet and/or credit cards has its advantages, I won’t deny that. But thinking that using more or only cards will stop you being robbed …?
    Come on, get real ! The robbing will go on but in another form: any idea how many people lose money (billions of EURO, USD or whatsoever every day) by credit/debit card fraud ?

    And let’s be honest: who profits the most of a credit/debit card society ? Not you, not me. Oh no, the banks !(Years ago everybody needed to use checks. When everybody used them, the banks started to ask money to use them. The same with cards …

    I think Björn should stop trying to be the Swedish Bono and do what he’s good/the best at: make music !

  • I’m an ABBA fan of 31 years, but I’ve got to say; Bjorn is no "Swedish Bono". Bono heads up organizations and movements that actually help people (poverty, famine, AIDS, etc.). Bjorn simply rails against religion, against illegal downloading and against paper currency.

  • I could not disagree more. Cash should never be eliminated. Electronic theft is on the rise. How on Earth would someone pay someone else money that they owe them? handing them cash and saying, "Here’s what I owe you" is so perfect. Without cash, I would write you a check, you would go to the bank and have your Visa card ‘loaded’ with the funds. And there would surely be a fee.

    Sorry Bjorn, this is one thing that I really disagree with you on. And by the way, I am a banker

  • I prefer cash. In melbourne Australia there has been quite a few incidents of credit card skimmimg . The latest is the eftpos machines at convience stores are tampered with and a pinhole sized camera in the roof records you putting in your pin number. The details are then transfered to a fake card and your money is stolen through an atm. Even atms have been found to have skimming devices on them. Cash is much safer . I hope Bjorn reads this.
    From Simone

  • It´s really strange Bjorn has decided to write about "this", I prefer when He writes songs, He can do it a lot better.

  • There are times when one prefers to carry only a small amount of cash and leave behind the credit card. Being poolside comes to mind.

  • The more I think about this the more I disagree with it. Getting rid of cash would rais all sorts of civil liberty issues, it’s not a good idea. I?m sure Bjorn was just talking off the top of his head.

  • The thing I like about using cash is that you only pay for what you buy: if you use an ATM or EFTPOS machine that is not your bank, you have to pay for using their facility… which tallies up to be quite a lot, especially when one is needing to watch what they spend (ie, when one is a full-time uni-student, a pensioner, unemployed, poor, etc).

  • Some of Bjorns comments on various things such as religion being tought in schools have struck me as being simplistic. This one about cash takes the biscuit. I have an elderly mother who is struggling with early dementia & cannot deal with cedit/debit cards anymore. He acknowledges that some elderly may need assistance if cash were to go, doesn’t he realise the effect that loosing part of their independance can have on the self-esteme and pride has on such people.

  • Luc’s comment is totally right- the idea that no real cash means less crime is possibly wrong (it could lead to other forms of crime, possibly more violent). Bjorn may be writing in his blog but the point is, for a media figure, sometimes it’s better to do what you are good at. Totally agree that B should just stick to making music- we have enough Bonos & Geldofs. But then, Bjorn hasn’t really been doing that much really…

  • In a way I can see Bjorns arguemnt,aws a taxi driver in the UK,it is obviously safer not to carry alot of cash about,this should not be the case,but in todays society,be it English or Swedish or anywhere else,muggings and robberies are more prelevent,so cards rather than cash may address that. BUT,as someone commented,Sweden apart,prices of items may not be enough to make such a payment method attractive…Newcastle where I work,I will only take card payments if the fare exceeds £10,mainly because of bank charges and card costs,these all have to be added in and covered. My mother gets her pension by card,but being registered blind,that does cause a problem for the `pin` number…BUT she is safer than carring cash.
    Im sure Bjorn is right,the days of cash carrying may be numbered,but i think there will always be a need for cash in some form or another. Incidentally,and no disrespect to Bjorn,who i greatly admire,but people who are as wealthy as him and others like him,would not be worried about bank charges or card charges as we lesser well off are,and when I take a `fare` to say the airport from town,many business people pay by card which adds 10% on the fare….£14-16 becomes £16-17,which the company pays but adds to the price they eventually charge us for the product,so there is a `knock on `effect.
    However Sweden is the same as UK….a free country,so Bjorn has the right to his opinion,whether we agree or not,so if Bjorn ever gets my cab from the airport,ill be happy to accept his card…..and mug him for his autograph….LOL all the best….John

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