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Advantages of Cashless Payments – Lessons Learnt From Sweden

11/11/2015

The 1950s must have been a very exciting time to live as a silent revolution was underway. The now ubiquitous credit card saw its first appearance with an enterprising duo, Mr. McNmara and his partner Ralph Schneider, came out with the Diner’s Club Card.  With it, the holder could pay for dining at select restaurants and is widely heralded as the first credit card…acquainting people with the idea that you don’t always need cash to transact.

Even while the convenience of paying without cash was obvious, the move to credit cards was still not an easy one, old habits die hard after all. It would take nearly 2 decades for banks to come out with their own cards which were at first issued only to high level company executives (who were also required to maintain a fairly well stocked account with the bank). Only during the 80s were the credit and debit cards offered to regular account holders.

Now, 65 years after the Diner’s Club Card first saw the light of day, the next era of the cashless revolution, powered by mobile technology, is happening right now.  While the U.S. may be slow to adapt, Sweden is making some serious headway into becoming a completely cashless society.  Largely thanks to widespread acceptance of mobile payment solutions and widespread internet availability.  Today, as many as four out of five purchases being made in Sweden are electronic, and five of six major Swedish banks have abandoned cash altogether.

Sweden’s cashless efforts are going hand-in-hand with its leadership in mobile technology solutions, which let people pay for goods and services via “contactless payment methods” such as QR codes or NFC tags.

Having been a part of the Swedish mobile coup, we at SEQR couldn’t be happier seeing this happen! 2001 doesn’t seem so far back when we started offering our mobile wallet system under the banner of Seamless. 14 years on, SEQR has become the most widely used mobile wallet not only in Sweden, but in Europe.  SEQR handles more than 3.1 billion transactions annually through 525, 000 active sales outlets, 5,200 merchants have chosen SEQR including Sweden’s largest grocery chains, fast food chains and national retailer chains like McDonald’s and Subway.

While most people will be quick to point out that the shift to electronic transactions is primarily driven by convenience, there are other important benefits to consumers as well.  Theft of cash becomes impossible when people stop carrying money around.  In addition, fraud is greatly reduced as information is more secure due to two-factor authentication (A recent study found that 51% all the global credit card fraud takes place in U.S. so anything to reduce this number will make us all safer and save us money).

Merchants also love the SEQR solution because the cost of transactions falls dramatically.  A merchant using SEQR for instance is only charged 0.50 – 0.98% -of the transaction’s value, two third lesser than what credit card companies will charge (let’s not even get started on all the hidden costs and that you pay for maintenance).

While credit cards have served us well, it is time we started to look towards faster, cheaper and more secure methods of transacting.  The Swedish example demonstrates that mobile payment solutions are a safe way of conducting business which can help both the brand, and its patrons interact with greater confidence.  Having already passed Sweden’s Data Inspection board’s scrutiny, SEQR offers the most tried and tested mobile payment technology to date.  For more information on how SEQR’s solution can work to reduce your costs, drive customer satisfaction and mitigage fraud, contact us today and put our expertise to work for you.

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