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I will be in Sweden for a week, mostly in Stockholm and Solna. I read an article in the Guardian suggesting that Sweden is moving fast towards being a cashless society.

Does this mean that I won't be able to pay for many things with cash?

Should I just bring my debit card to pay for things? I would rather not pay fixed bank surcharges on every little transaction (for 5 Euro train tickets, etc.).

  • You can pay with card or cash (EURO) every where.. no problem. Been there a couple of times – user29210 May 6 '15 at 12:51
  • People who suggested here to always use the card instead of cash have to understand that tourist from non-Sek ( Swedish crowns ) countries have to pay extra foreign transaction fees and in some cases extra bunk service fees . For an example I just bought two Abba museum tickets using my US Amex card and ended up paying more that 7 USD just foreign transaction fees . Just saying ... – user41192 Mar 14 '16 at 11:37
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I don't know exactly what the situation is with businesses in Stockholm, but in Gothenburg (the 2nd largest city), nearly every place will take both card and cash.

Some places, generally high-end restaurants, will only take card as payment, and in festivals, street markets and student pubs it could happen that they only accept cash.

  • Do you know about transport? I think I remember hearing that buses and trains can only be paid for by card. – Guambra Feo May 6 '15 at 8:19
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    @Guambrafeo I paid for the bus/tram ticket in Gothenburg and Stockholm with cash last month. – March Ho May 6 '15 at 8:24
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    @Guambrafeo - you cannot use cash directly on the public transport in Stockholm - in fact, you cannot even buy tickets on the bus/tram/subway etc. You must instead use an SL travel card. You can buy one and top it up at a 7-eleven shop and at SL travel centers (such as in Stockholm's central train station). You can top up these cards using cash. You can also use the SL travel app which can be connected to a bank card - this requires a mobile data connection and I'd probably consider it more complex for short term usage. Source: sl.se/en/fares--tickets – My Head Hurts May 6 '15 at 9:29
  • In fact, vending machines for metro tickets in Denmark only accepted coins the last time I was there (2011), no bills, no cards. I hope it's better now. I bought tickets from cashiers with cash in Stockholm, therefore I can't really comment more on OP's question. – downhand May 6 '15 at 9:48
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    @MarchHo It depends on what kind of card Gambra was referring to. To use a lot of Gothenburg's public transportation you have to have a public transportation card (that can be bought in stores for cash or with a debit card). – user29220 May 6 '15 at 15:47
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Card works almost everywhere, exceptions being outdoor markets perhaps. Also some kiosks will not take card if the amount is below 10-50 kr.

One thing to note is that many streetfood trucks and smaller venues (where you might think cash only) might take card only to get rid of handling the cash. They use a mobile solution called iZettle with a card reader connected to a iPhone/iPad.

Also note that most places will use pin, but in some restaurants/bars you will sign the reciept.

But still you come a long way with cash only, and there are plenty of ATMs in the city.

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    @DJClayworth I live there, and haven't used cash in three months. – Davidmh May 6 '15 at 15:11
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    Same here, rarely use cash, always keep about 200kr in bills in the wallet anyway, should I need it for some reason. – Viktor Mellgren May 6 '15 at 15:45
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If you want to be able to use a card without paying fees every time, then you may do well to look into a pre-paid travel debit/credit card. These are often a good bet to use when abroad anyway, if you don't have access to one of the UK cards (certain Halifax and Nationwide products) that are "free" to use abroad.

For UK nationals as I am guessing you are, MoneySavingExpert provides a good rundown.

  • there are also plenty of cards that offer no foreign transaction fees. – ell May 6 '15 at 18:51
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I live outside of Stockholm. I used to pay most things with cash but nowadays I have moved over to card. I would still expect all places to accept cash though. One reason I moved over was the attitude towards large bills. Trying to pay for lunch with a SEK500 bill is often not popular. (Upper end restaurants and hotels I don't know about - I always pay with card at more expensive places.)

Also a thing to note in this context is that the cards that are generally accepted are VISA and MasterCard. Other cards may work in some places but don't count on it.

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