Sweden’s homeless use iZettle to sell the ‘Big Issue’

Sweden is fast becoming the most cashless country in the world. Indeed, such is the progress, that homeless people in the capital city Stockholm have started taking cards using iZettle when they sell the equivalent magazine to the Big Issue called Situation.

According to iZettle chief executive Jacob de Geer, barely anyone below the age of 40 carries cash on a routine basis. And that was hurting the homeless sellers of the magazine according Pia Stolt of Situation: “More and more sellers were telling us that people wanted a copy of the magazine but weren’t carrying cash. It got to the point where we had to do something, so we worked with Stockholm-based mobile payments company iZettle and came up with a way to sell the magazine electronically.”

“We didn’t know how it would turn out, or whether people would be reluctant to give their credit card information to a homeless person, but the results have been great – vendors’ sales are up 59%,” says Stolt.

One of the campaigners for Sweden becoming an entirely cashless society is Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus. After his son was mugged he became evangelical about electronic payments. He claims cash was the key cause of crime and that “all activity in the black economy requires cash”. He notes that the only thing he misses about cash, he hasn’t used it for a year, is “a coin to borrow a trolley at the supermarket.”