Sweden Sees Shift Away From Cash

STOCKHOLM — No cash? No problem — in Sweden at least, where cellphone and credit-card payments are quickly eclipsing coins and bills.

When Robin Teigland left her wallet at home, the man in line behind her agreed to pay for her groceries. His gesture as much out of convenience as kindness — Teigland paid him back immediately via Swish, a mobile-banking app gaining traction throughout Scandinavia.

"Sweden has always been at the forefront of financial innovation," said Teigland, a professor of business at the Stockholm School of Economics. "I never use cash. My kids laugh at me, because I only carry the five-crown coins I use to get a shopping cart at the store."

Teigland isn't alone — cash now makes up just 2 percent of the Swedish economy, compared to 9.7 percent throughout the euro zone, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

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