I've heard that in Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg), you can only pay for public transportation by credit/debit card, or an app on your phone.

As an electronic payment hater, is it possible to travel the country (by public transportation) as tourist (including Stockholm, Gothenburg) WITHOUT a credit and debit card (and no app as well)?

I mean, the Swedish Krona is a state-recognized means of payment, so if I come with cash, theoretically they are legally obliged to accept it and can't really refuse to sell me a ticket, or can they ?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    Mar 10, 2020 at 22:35

3 Answers 3


Is it possible to travel the country (by public transportation) as tourist (including Stockholm, Gothenburg) WITHOUT a credit and debit card (and no app as well)

In Stockholm it is possible. You will need to purchase either a single ticket, an SL card containing pay as you go credit, or an SL card containing a period ticket (24 hours, 72 hours, 3 days 7 days etc). You can buy these from train & metro stations and some retailers like Pressbyrån or 7-eleven. Buy the card with cash, then use it on public transport.

You cannot "buy a ticket" on a bus/ferry - using any payment method - you must have a single ticket already, use the SL card, or use the app.

More information from SL: https://sl.se/en/fares--tickets/

Gothenburg has a similar system: https://www.vasttrafik.se/en/tickets/

For other regions, you'll need to do some research.

Booking long distance trains will be more difficult. You will need to buy tickets from an SJ ticket office and they will charge a booking fee for this.

As others have mentioned, buying a prepaid debit card using cash will make life a lot easier.

  • 1
    See also this answer, which gives helpful information on how & where you can buy public transport tickets in Stockholm: travel.stackexchange.com/a/143742/75875 Mar 7, 2020 at 22:53
  • thanks for the update. Another thing, my understanding is that it is possible to buy SJ tickets from Pressbyrån and 7-eleven and some other retailers. The fee still applies though.
    – Anders
    Mar 9, 2020 at 15:10

I'd go to the store Pressbyrån and get a prepaid debit card to use during the stay.

Using cash will be hard, many places don't accept cash. It will also be much more expensive.

If you only want to use cash you will have to plan your trip very well so that you know what places accept cash.

Getting tickets for public transportation during the evening and night will be near impossible using cash and you will then have to use mayor brand cabs that can be twice as expensive as app cabs - and that is if you manage to find them without using their app...

You will also most likely have to use manual checkouts which will make you spend time in queues, time you could spend doing other things. If the stores have self-service checkouts that accepts cash it's just one machine.

You will will barely be able to order food delivery as very few couriers bring cash.

You can't use the e-scooters if you don't have a card!

When I hang out with people living without a debit card they frequently ask me if I can pay using my card as it's much cheaper and the service is so much better.

  • So Pressbyrån is at the airport ? Or if not, how do I get to the store if I can't board public transport ? :) Also, this "prepaid debit card" - is it free, and does it charge percentages ?
    – Quandary
    Mar 7, 2020 at 20:13
  • 2
    @Quandary Pressbyrån is everywhere. Of course it's not free, I think it's about 50 kr or something. Mar 7, 2020 at 22:30
  • "You can't use the e-scooters if you don't have a card" - oh, how I wish that less people have cards!:(
    – guest
    Mar 11, 2020 at 16:47
  • To the app caps: I don't know how the situation in Sweden is -- but in my country, we have taxi an Uber and many people prefer the expensive taxis. Why? They don't want to support a foreign company which avoids paying taxes in our country and treats the employees like crap. Moreover, the mayor cabs have a fixed price by law --> reducing their number by using Uber would make their number smaller and Uber could ask for any price they want. Also, the taxi drivers are professionals which checked cars -- Uber drivers are anybody.. so, mayor taxis have a lot of advantages.
    – guest
    Aug 4, 2020 at 15:55
  • @guest Uber/Bolt/Whatever taxis are fully licensed in Sweden and just as safe as normal taxi. Aug 5, 2020 at 16:17

You have recieved other good answers on how to buy the tickets. Regarding cash it is up to the place where you want to purchase something to choose what forms of payments they accept and if you do not want to or can not pay in that way you will need to go elsewhere. Not all places will take cash, not all places will accept all cards (few take Diners for instance), some will take Swish (where you pay from an app in your phone). Overall a VISA or Mastercard works in almost all places in Sweden.

  • I don't know of any Diners that don't accept cards. AMEX is supported in many places as the Swedish air carrier SAS issues AMEX bonus cards, but always keep a MasterCard or VISA on you, preferably contactless. Aug 14, 2020 at 14:17
  • @MikaelDúiBolinder I was refering to the credit cards from Diners Club. Aug 16, 2020 at 19:33

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