“Thanks for paying for my lunch, how much should I swish you?” is a sentence often heard in Sweden.
A growing number of stores are also allowing customers to pay using the money transfer app, and it will soon become possible to use it to pay for purchases outside Sweden, the company said on Tuesday.
It said it had teamed up with six other mobile payment providers in Europe to form the group European Mobile Payment Systems Association (Empsa), which will make it possible for Swedish residents to use Swish in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland and Norway.
“The ability to carry out Swish payments outside of Sweden is a high priority among our seven million users. With Empsa, we are now taking a significant step towards enabling it, while also strengthening our European collaboration between wallets,” Anna-Lena Wretman, Swish CEO and vice chairman of Empsa, said in a statement.
The organization combines 25 million registered users across seven countries, currently made up of Bancontact Payconiq Company (Belgium), Bluecode (Germany and Austria), MobilePay (Denmark and Finland), Sibs/MB Way (Portugal), Swish (Sweden), Twint (Switzerland) and Vipps (Norway).
READERS REVEAL: How Sweden's 'cashless society' affects international residents
Swish is only part of Sweden's transformation into a future 'cashless society'. Four out of five purchases are today made by card, and reports suggest the Nordic country could become a cashless society by 2030.
The picture is very different in other parts of Europe. In Italy, for example, three-quarters of all consumer purchases are still paid for in cash. But in Sweden, even taxis and sellers of homeless magazine Situation Stockholm offer card payments.
However, some of the main critics of the cashless trend have warned that it is a development that could end up excluding the elderly and disadvantaged people living outside the banking system, as well as increasing the risk of internet crime. And many of The Local's readers have pointed out that the Swish system is difficult for non-residents, as it requires a Swedish personal number for registering.