Chris hit on one of my major pet peeves: The “added” costs of merchants accepting credit cards. Chris claimed a 6% additional cost and I’m happy to accept that for purposes of discussion. But that still pales compared to the 9.1% average cost of handling cash in retail.
Meanwhile, Sweden has gone almost completely cashless with only 15% of retail transactions being done in cash.
Cash is only handled in seven out of a total of 118 branches and the bank recently announced a new focus on providing digital tools in branches, designed to encourage visitors to complete banking tasks themselves, with staff on hand to answer questions if they get stuck.
“We believe in a blend between the digital world and the physical world,” says Viktor Sjoberg, a customer advisor at SEB’s flagship branch in central Stockholm. He is convinced that bringing back more cash-based services would “go against customer demand”.
“There’s no need to keep an infrastructure alive if no-one uses it,” he says.