How going cashless allows Big Brother to spy on your every move: As thousands of Swedes get payment chips implanted in their hands, a backlash is growing amid fears of data abuse
- Pensioners and disabled people have hit out at the move away from cash
- Former banker Hans-Uno Broström said the situation made people ‘indebted’
- Britain is third in a recent analysis of cashless economies
Cards and smartphones are the way Swedish students opt to pay for goods but thousands have microchips inserted under their skin to pay their way. But there is a backless against a cashless society.
Gustaf can remember the precise date when he last used cash. ‘It was October 7 last year,’ he told me without hesitancy.
‘I found an old note that I had forgotten about and used it to buy some sweets.’
Like many others at his university in Gothenburg, Sweden, Gustaf relies on cards and smartphones to spend money. ‘None of us use cash – you just don’t need it these days,’ he said.
But there is one problem – a big one. The 20-year-old computer science student keeps losing his bank cards, along with others that swipe open electronic locks for his apartment, gym and lecture halls. ‘I laugh about it but it is very inconvenient.’
So he plans to get a tiny microchip, scarcely bigger than a grain of rice, injected into his hand which he says will make life easier as well as being ‘cool and futuristic’ – following the lead of at least 4,000 other Swedes as their country hurtles into a brave new world without hard cash.
They have chips inserted under their skin – usually above the thumb – to pay for their coffees and bus and train travel, waving a hand across payment machines as if using a contactless card.
This blending of human beings with technology sounds like science fiction. Yet it comes as this Nordic nation – the first in Europe to issue banknotes more than 350 years ago – leads the global march into a cashless society.