Swedish City Aims For Cashless Conversion

What's Next In Payments®
3:28 PM EDT December 20th, 2012

Does a “cashless utopia” sound too goo to be true?

That’s what the city of Uppsala, Sweden is aiming to become, as Swedenbank and MasterCard trial the use of several cashless platforms – such as the KOY mobile app – in the city in an attempt to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of cash.

As Finextra notes, Uppsala is the fourth-largest city in Sweden, and the University-centric town is seen “as an ideal testing ground for the application of mobile payment-related technology.” One of the primary functions of the trial is to reduce crime in Uppsala, as cashless transactions reduce the risk of robbery.

“Swedenbank’s role in this project is to actively — in collaboration with other organizations I Uppsala — try to make this town safer and more welcoming for our inhabitants,” said Per Ericsson, cash management project manager for Swedenbank in Uppsala.

“All official numbers show that cash usage is decreasing and card payments are increasing. “

To show how the KOY mobile app and platform works, MasterCard highlighted two locations in Uppsala that have used the system to their benefit. Ica Nara Folkes Livs, a local merchant, said it saw up to 200 extra customers a day when it sent out a good deal through KOY. The Sushi of Sweden estimated that 99 percent of its customers own a card, and billed itself as a “cash-free restaurant.”

The Swedish Evangelical Mission showcased a payments terminal called “Kollektomat”in its church as well, and noted that one-third of its donations are now made via card.

“All these efforts mean a safer society for all of us,” Ericsson said.

Watch a video of Uppsala and its cashless conversion below.


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