Could you cope with travelling to a cashless country?

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Some people view having to buy foreign currency a painful process, fraught with worries over fees and getting the best exchange rates.

But for me, buying foreign currency before a holiday or trip is one of those ‘this is really happening’ moments. Once that money is in my wallet, I know I’m really going.

Well, that small joy (or pain) may soon be a thing of the past, should countries begin to adopt cashless systems.

cashless payment

According to a Smarter Travel report, banking experts believe that by 2023, cash will not exist in Sweden, with all transactions replaced by some form of digital transfer, such as cards, RFID signals, or smartphone payment systems.

While that may not happen here, or in countries such as the US, UK and Canada, for some time, other countries – and indeed the world – are trending in that direction.

Under US law, anyone selling anything is required to accept cash as a form of payment, and some states have even established laws to prevent businesses from going totally cashless.

However, anyone travelling to Stockholm, Seoul, Singapore, Reykjavik and larger cities in China, may soon be doing so without cash, with Sweden ready to become the first to make the switch.

Swedish laws already allow retailers to operate completely cashless and these laws bypass banking laws that establish cash as legal tender.

For travellers, although the notion of going without the comfort of cash may, for some, seem daunting, there are many benefits to being cashless. These include lower security risks, faster transaction times, lighter wallets or purses and fewer fees. You may not even need to carry any plastic cards, should more stores adopt smartphone payment systems.

Would you be okay with going cashless? Or do you like more control over your money?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 16
  1. 0

    Questions arise. What if you lose your phone or have it stolen from you? Thieves won’t be interested in wallets as much as your phone, and we don’t walk around staring at our wallets in our hands do we?

  2. 0

    Cashless transactions? A great way for governments (the ATO as well!) and retailers to keep track of your spending habits. Targeted ads are already a feature of life online and will only get worse as cash disappears. Another intrusion into our rights to spend as we wish? Another way for governments to monitor and control our way of life. Not for me, thanks.

  3. 0

    Cashless is the way of the future and I like it.

  4. 0

    98% of my shopping is cashless I have done that so I can tally up every days spending I have done that for the past 6 yrs so I know what I will need for my pension But I do not like the idea of all these other government dept knowing what I spend my money on

  5. 0

    What if your smartphone doesn’t have any apps for this available for it?

    I’m certainly not going to the expense of purchasing a new phone just because some bank wants to not write an app for my current phone (2016 version).

    There are already some apps that I can’t download and use just because the current app isn’t backward compatible.

  6. 0

    The cashless society is coming but people do not look at the possible downside. A look at what happened in Greece and Cyprus should be a starting point to understand what governments will do when it suits them to do it. Not pretty and no amount of complaining will change the outcome.
    We were in Greece at the time and speaking to people there gave us an understanding of how citizens were nobbled by their own government.

    • 0

      Indeed Mick I was in Greece the night of 8th August 2007 travelling with FED representatives. They were shaken explaining that there might not be credit or money transactions possible the next morning. We organised to be taken out of the city by a fisherman if that had happened. We had enough cash together to make it worth his while. The ECB put nearly $300 million ( or billion I can’t recall) euro into the banks to stop the collapse.

      It was also cash that saved the US in 2008/9 from my experience there. It is easy for those who have never experienced system failure to think banks are stable and solvent.

      Besides I do not like allowing direct debits of unknown amounts such as telecom or electricity etc and really object to the extra 0.64% being charged by some government and business for using cards.

      And paying negative rates to move and hold my money doesn’t sound like a very good deal for me.

    • 0

      Was in Japan last month and everything was done in cash, Railway tickets and hotel bills were all done that way. Automatic dispensers everywhere – from beer to fresh milk all taking notes and coins, no facilities for plastic cards. Mind you they have coins for 500 yen ($US5). A tourist insisted on paying in plastic in a souvenir shop – what a hullaballoo! After a while it worked. I do not think I would have the patience.

  7. 0

    What happens during a power outage or when the shop’s wifi is down??
    You’ve just eaten a meal say and are going to pay for it and one of the above happens???

    • 0

      Was in Airlie Beach when there was no power, P&O cruise ship in town. I had cash and found a pub with the register still open so they could sell me stuff.
      Funny the ship had a cash dispenser but people wanted to save the ATM fee to access money in town. Cashless society? Won’t work without electricity.

  8. 0

    Cashless is going to cause BIG problems for some places. Its all very well to have cashless in the big cities etc, but what happens in small towns or even in our outback where there may be no or poor connection.
    This is just a way for big gov. to control and see what and who is spending money and where. Another BIG BROTHER move and not a friendly big brother.
    And lets see what banks do to charges once you are locked into their cashless system. I bet they wont go down. The cashless creep is already here with cashless dole payments and limits on cash transactions. Its for “security” you know.
    They are already stealing money from peoples super accounts under the guise of stopping super cos form ripping you off. Just how much of that will go back to the owners?
    Next step will be to take your super from “underperforming funds” to “save”your money. We need to stop this nonsense ASAP!

  9. 0

    Yes Sweden is a very strong Society and cashless may very well work there. we will see.

    Personally my experiences cause mr to carry enough $US to get me home or at least out of a city if the banking system hits another liquidity crunch. Sweden may have special systems in place to deal with liquidity collapses or electric system outages over extended time frames.

    Here we had 8 days a few years ago with no electricity and credit were operating at the pub for locals but nowhere else.

    I’ll bet $US will be used in Sweden after they go cashless just the same.

    I hope surcharges for using cards are eliminated otherwise that is yet another tax by banks on consumer dollars.

    • 0

      Sister was in Sweden 2 months ago and Rae, no worries about $US. However, a call of nature calls for a credit card to access the facilities. Big problem when you have a hundred dollar note and cannot access the place. Maybe that is the way the Swedes will teach us to change into Cashless.

  10. 0

    If Sweden go cashless then that’s one country I can cross off my must visit list.98% of my transactions are cash.I trust whats in my wallet than what a computer says I have.

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