Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Does That Homeless Guy Take Credit Cards?

He does in Sweden. Welcome to the cashless society
The buyer sends a text message with the seller’s unique ID. The seller receives a receipt and can later collect the money
The buyer sends a text message with the seller’s unique ID. The seller receives a receipt and can later collect the moneyPhotograph by Melker Dahlstrand/Image Bank Sweden

Stockholm’s homeless magazine vendors no longer need to ask if you can spare any kronor. They take credit cards. In the most cashless society on the planet, a few of the sellers of Situation Stockholm, a culture magazine hawked by the homeless, were equipped in September with portable card readers to accept payments from fellow Swedes. The move marks a world first, according to their employer.

“More and more of our sellers come in and say that people don’t have cash—they have told us this for a long time,” says Pia Stolt, the magazine’s chief executive officer. “This becomes frustrating, but now they feel they offer an opportunity to buy the paper.”