Sveriges Riksbank, the Central Bank of Sweden, has served a notice to the Swedish parliament calling for access to cash to be a legal right.
The notice, which was submitted to the country’s Ministry of Finance on the 16 March 2016, asks for the nation’s banks to provide a cash service to ensure access to accounts with basic functions.
Sweden has pursued a cashless policy in recent years, resulting in a decline of nearly 25% in the amount of currency in circulation since 2012.
Though Riksbank recognises that the recent changes to cash use due to payment digitalisation is a positive step forward, it believes that the rate in which it is occurring is too fast and that banks have been too quick to reduce cash handling, making it difficult to provide cash services in areas with a low population density.
A key concern identified by Riksbank is that if the pace of cash reduction continues, it is possible that cash services may disappear before alternative payment methods are available to all. It is this reason why Riksbank proposes that Sweden’s Government introduce a legal obligation for banks to provide the public with basic functions which meet the customer’s needs.
This notice served by Sweden’s Central Bank has been welcomed by various organisations including the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), CEO Mike Lee said:
“This is a victory for common sense and for the future balance of the Swedish consumer economy and I’d like to congratulate the Swedish Riksbank for seeing through the mirage of anti-cash propaganda in the media to reveal the basic economic right of free citizens to choose their own payment methods at all times, whether cash or digital.”
To read the full notice by Sveriges Riksbank click here.