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ECB welcomes Sweden's pro-cash draft law

calendar iconDec 12, 2019

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On November 26th, 2019, the European Central Bank released its legal opinion on Sweden's recent draft law, which would safeguard cash access at Swedish bank branches.

Sweden's government proposed the pro-cash law in September this year in response to warnings from the national bank over the dangers of going too cashless. The ECB agrees with the reasoning behind the amendments and the law itself but seeks further clarifications.

The "draft law" proposes an amendment to Sweden's existing payments legislation, an update that would see all national bank branches offering cash services, thereby ensuring financial inclusion and resilience against connectivity failures.

"It's more or less the same as not giving so much thought to your health as long as you’re healthy. But once you get sick, it becomes almost the only thing you can think about. Our system for payments is similar..."
"Stefan Ingves,Governor of Sveriges RiksbankJun 4, 2018

Warnings came primarily from Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank that expressed a desire for an obligation to accept cash backed by own findings on the irreplaceable role cash holds for the tech-averse and as a backup to electronic payments.

Ultimately, the ECB welcomes Sweden's law amendments but hopes for clarification on how the law would impact foreign bank branches across the country.

"The ECB also welcomes the core objectives of the draft law, namely to facilitate the continued use of cash in Swedish society by ensuring an adequate level of access to cash services throughout Sweden."
"Opinion of the ECBGeneral observations 2.2Nov 26, 2019

Time will tell if those following Sweden's cashless example will also take note of Sweden's recommitment to safeguarding cash, now that the European Central Bank welcomes the move. After all, encouraging advancement in FinTech should never be at the expense of giving up the only truly universal and resilient payment form.

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Last Updated: Jan 27, 2020

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