Björn Ulvaeus has stopped using cash. He wants all Swedes to do the same.
“It will not be possible to buy your ABBA The Museum admission ticket with cash, nor will it be possible to buy any merchandise or souvenirs in the museum with cash,” reports Aftonbladet’s Jens Peterson after a discussion with Björn Ulvaeus about his hoped-for ‘payment card-only’ society in Sweden.
“Everything in the venue is cashless,” says Björn Ulvaeus. “Some people will think it’s crazy, I know.”
ABBA The Museum and the Swedish Music Hall Of Fame opens 7 May in Stockholm and cash is not accepted.
“We have decided,” says Björn Ulvaeus, “that we will be able to make huge savings by not keeping cash on the premises and it will provide more security for the staff. In Stockholm, we are virtually cashless as it is and perhaps by being cashless at the museum, we can risk losing some visitors due to it.
“I haven’t used cash for about a year. Once, I needed a 5 kroner coin for a shopping trolley at the supermarket but on that occasion my wife had one. Moreover, it has not been really difficult once.
I am 67 years old and speak what is on my mind if I think it is important
“It takes longer to pay with a 100 SEK note when buying a cup of coffee than it does with a card. There are huge savings to be made, the black economy would shrink. Imagine how much more tax revenue it would bring in? We could fix up hospitals or whatever.”
Aftonbladet: You’ve had your dust-ups with the tax authorities and attracted attention by way of large revenues and profits, are you not afraid to be associated with a discussion about money?
“Yes, ‘Money, money, money’ may well become the topic of all this,” says Björn Ulvaeus. “But I am 67 years old and speak what is on my mind if I think it is important. There should be a serious debate about it here. Otherwise it will be ‘the topic raised by the old fool, what does he know about it?’ I can almost hear it now, ‘Grandad should not speak out about stuff like that’…but I do anyway.”
There are others who think along the same lines. Pia Bergman is a Senior Manager at the Swedish Tax agency: “Cash is a prerequisite for crime,” she said. “I lead the work nationally against serious economic crime and cash is always needed for profiteering.”
Aftonbladet: What does it mean if ABBA The Museum doesn’t accept cash?
“It has a symbolic value,” said Pia Bergman. “It doesn’t mean that crime in Sweden suddenly decreases. It’s just a part of the whole, but Björn Ulvaeus has started the ball rolling. It is important.”
Aftonbladet: Can we do away with cash in Sweden?
“It is not realistic in the short term, but in the long term, it can happen,” said Pia B. “In large parts of society we can do away with cash. What is important to you and me and ‘Aunt Elsa’ is that everything we pay for is traceable and receipted. For the safety of us all.”
My son was robbed a few years ago, which is what prompted the idea.
It was a burglary which gave Björn Ulvaeus thought of removing the coins and banknotes.
My son was robbed a few years ago, which is what prompted the idea. No society on earth would be better placed to introduce a cashless society than Sweden…we have a small currency used only within our borders. Without cash, we would avoid the bicycle thief and the television thief, and who would buy the copper that is stolen, if they could not sell it for cash?”.
The final stages of work on ABBA The Museum and the Swedish Music Hall of Fame are now taking place. The Museum is located at Gröna Lund and Skansen on Djurgården. There is also a shop. You can book tickets in advance for a certain period, or buy on the day. And if there was any doubt left at all, only debit or credit cards will be accepted.
“We will make sure people are educated about it and how to make purchases,” says Björn Ulvaeus. “We will have screens everywhere that inform and tell people in the queue. If a queue forms.”