Sweden’s War on Cash: News from the Frontlines

Three of the four largest banks in Sweden continue to phase out the manual handling of cash at their branch offices at a rapid pace, according to recent data reported today in Naringsliv, a leading Swedish Money and Finance newspaper insert. Taken together, Swedbank, Nordea, and SEB, have stopped offering cash services at their branches at the rate of three branches per week since 2010. Thus during the period 2010-2012, cash disappeared from 465 Swedish bank branches. At Swedberg bank, only 75 of its 340 branches still handle cash.

Leif Faithful, Head of Financial Infrastructure at the Swedish Bankers’ Association, believes that eventually all Swedes will need a bank card and sees this development as beneficial to “both consumers and trade.” Odd that he does not mention the great benefit to the banks of revenues generated by the cards and the fact that with few bank branches paying out cash it makes fractional-reserve banks much more secure against bank runs during crises generated by the credit expansion of these same banks. Nor does he mention the obvious benefits from the spread of electronic transactions that will accrue to the Swedish government, which will have much greater ability to snoop into and monitor the private financial dealings of its citizens

Fortunately, one heroic Swedish bank among the largest four, Handelsbanken, has resisted this pernicious trend toward abolishing cash and empowering the government and the fractional-reserve banking cartel at the expense of the public. From early 2010, Handelsbanken has actually increased the number of its branches that handles cash and today all 461 branches do so, but with a limit of $15,000.

HT to Per Bylund.


  1. Not this failed theme again. Italiano Salerno living in New York claims to know there is a “war on cash” in Sweden? He has been pushing this since last year. In December he claimed to have uncovered an “anti-cash movement” consisting of banks and the national bank plotting together. And if you doubt it you must be a socialist, right?

    What is the “proof”? That small offices, of which there are many, stop handling cash. So you go to the large offices instead. Oh no! Clearly a conspiracy!

    The reason is that people use bank cards when shopping (must be part of the evil plan), so there are fewer who go to the banks to take out money to shop for. And there are AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINES everywhere. Strange how Salerno never mentions that. Since most people take out money through ATMs instead, the banks don’t want to spend money on all the security and procedures necessary for every little office to handle cash, when there is no need.

    If people feel a burning desire to take out cash from a bank office, or put money in their account, they can always find a bank office where they can do so. Just not every little local office. Maybe you have to go a little farther than your local office. Yes, what a conspiracy.

    Meanwhile people use cash when they are shopping every day. Every single grocery story accepts cash. Every other store you can imagine takes cash too. But I suppose Salerno yells CONSPIRACY! when the car retailer wants the car paid with a bank card instead.

    So with Swedes using cash for everyday business, and not noticing the “war” Salerno claims to have uncovered … I suppose they must all be brainwashed. Only Salerno can see the truth.

  2. It will be interesting to follow Handelsbanken’s market share going forward. Let’s see what the Swedes are made of.

    • You mean they will leave Handelsbanken because local offices no longer have to pay for the security and procedures needed to handle large storages of cash in their premises? And if Swedes don’t rebel against this supposedly nefarious plotting against them (let me guess: it is part of a plan to control them, right?), that means they are not “made of” the right stuff?

      People use bank cards because it is very practical. That is why not every local office will handle cash any longer, the number of people dumb enough to stand in line at the bank to take out money are few now. Most people have discovered the existence of bank cards and ATMs. When people want to put cash in their bank account, they can always do so, just not at the small, local office. They will have to go to the middle of town instead.

      But I suppose the fact that no Swedes have noticed this “war on cash” Salerno talks about means they are not “made of the right stuff”, right? Those Scandinavian weaklings, not real men like the Meds, or Salerno’s fellow New Yorkers. (Who, I suppose, are men enough never to use anything but cash at the grocery store.)

      • Wow, Tenet, you sure did read far more into Mike’s comment than I did.

        Where did all this hate come from?

        Bankcards do provide one great benefit, one might as well use Bitcoin.

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