Cash or card?

The contrast couldn’t be bigger: Germany is a country where people love to pay with cash – Sweden is a country that consistently gets rid of cash and card payments are possible nearly everywhere. One could discuss the effects on society if cash payments aren’t possible anymore – and there are positive and negative ones – but what does this situation mean for a traveler?

I experienced the possibility to pay by card nearly everywhere as very convenient: very often if you only have to pay a small amount (up to 25 Euros) you can simply hold your credit card in front of a terminal and pay wirelessly – if you already have been provided with a wireless-enabled card by your bank. But I also didn’t want to go completely without cash in my pocket – because there still might be one sight that doesn’t except cards.

20 Kronor, Sweden
Astrid Lindgren and Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking on the 20 Kronor bill.

It is a very rare occasion but I saw this when using a tourist train: a family had to leave the train again because only cash was accepted. As the next train was going three hours later they had to completely reschedule. And then there was a second thing we needed to pay in cash: the final cleaning of our away home. But that is something you know in advance.

I just got the amount for the final cleaning and a small surplus at the beginning of the tour – and that’s easily possible from an ATM. Paying seems to be possible with Maestro and VPay enabled bank cards but I wouldn’t travel without a credit card. Don’t miss to take some cash as a souvenir back home – the 29 kronor bill shows a hero from childhood.