Yesterday we read a blog post about Turkey abandoning cash and moving to mobile money. I pointed out that it belongs to the pile of FUD coming from Tomi Ahonen (author, consultant, speaker). Now one would have thought the story about Turkey would be as bad as it can get but unfortunately there is even more. These snippets should have gotten your attention:

Countries such as Sweden and Turkey are in the rush to end cash as they see the power of mobile payments.

–Tomi Ahonen, July 28, 2014 [1]

–Tomi Ahonen, January 22, 2016 [2]

Sweden? We just covered Turkey, what’s going on in Sweden?

Sweden is on plans to abolish cash as is Kenya, Somalia and Turkey.

–Tomi Ahonen, July 28, 2014 [3]

Okay, they are planning to end cash too? Wow! I live in next door and haven’t notice. When and how will this happen?
–Tomi Ahonen, December 24, 2012 [4]

WHOA! Entire city moves to mobile money alone! That’s awesome! I can’t believe how hard it is for rest of the country to visit there!


The story about Uppsala (that apparently moved to mobile money already) seems to relate to the news about Mastercard app “Koy” being deployed in Uppsala. [5] Yes multiple cities in Sweden try to decrease use of cash and local branches of the banks have sometimes stopped handling cash at all to reduce risk of crimes and cost of transportation of cash (a big pain for Swedes themselves [6], BTW). But ending cash and moving to mobile money in one city only?

Once again there’s a grain of truth hidden here. Sweden actually is slowly becoming cashless as more an more of the transactions happen by payment cards and bank account transactions, but it’s a progress happening on its own and not having a set date. In year 2012 3% of the economy of Sweden was based on cash [7] and currently it’s down to 2% [8]. Also, Sweden faces exactly the same problems that I mentioned in my post about Turkey which might make it impossible to move completely out of cash. [9] And – once again – what comes to this fabrication:

By the summer of 2010, Sweden became the first country on the planet to start Parliamentary deliberations of when to end the manufacturing of cash altogether – replaced by mobile phone payments.

–Tomi Ahonen, March 12, 2012 [10]

That is a not true. The cash is getting less and less use as a result of credit cards, debit cards and direct bank account transactions between consumers [11]. Yes mobile payments get their (increasing) share but once again mobile phone payments are not the goal – getting rid of the trouble of handling bank notes is the goal. Even the famous news about churches taking mobile payments instead of cash actually means that the bank account number was projected on wall. [8] Sure, people could pay at spot via a mobile phone and an app to do it…
…or with any device with internet access to web pages of the bank…
…including paying later at home via PC…
…or at the local bank office.