The Swedish experience

Sweden is often cited as the likely first cashless economy. Banks eradicated cheques in the early 2000s with high fees, while cash as a percentage of GDP was 2.6 per cent in 2011. Australia's cash to GDP ratio is about 3.5 per cent of GDP.

Sweden is often cited as the likely first cashless economy. Banks eradicated cheques in the early 2000s with high fees, while cash as a percentage of GDP was 2.6 per cent in 2011. Australia's cash to GDP ratio is about 3.5 per cent of GDP.

Credit card readers are ubiquitous in Sweden, from parking meters to bowsers, while Swedish startup iZettle lets small and micro businesses accept cards with its smartphone card reader, much like Square in the US and PayPal's Here. The latest entrant to Sweden is Swish, an Android and iOS app launched by the nation's six big banks in December that enables mobile peer-to-peer payments between account holders at any of the banks.

Despite the cash alternatives, Sweden's former chief of the central bank, Lars Nyberg, said cash was likely to be the "crocodile" of payments, because it's easy to use.