Sweden is poised to become the world’s first cashless society by 2023. According to Interesting Engineering, this Nordic country will no longer accept cash as a form of payment with effect from March 24, 2023. As we edge closer to the deadline, preparing beforehand with other forms of payment is the only option left.
As such, here is a guide on the best credit cards in Sweden to help you make an informed decision.
1. Resurs Gold Mastercard
ResursHolding flaunted its relationship with Mastercard, talking about how it offers Mastercard cards with NFC (Near-Field Communication) chips. Since the two partnered up, customers accrue benefits such as the ability to access easy payment methods both online and in-store.
For this reason, you can enjoy Apple pay and Google pay, both being mobile payment services that allow customers to make in-person payments across the web and in apps supported on Apple and Google devices.
Other advantages of signing up for the Resurs Gold Mastercard are the welcome bonus worth SEK 100 and rewards on your purchases – up to 0.5 points per krona spent. Furthermore, once you open an account, you get a free savings account with 1.3% interest on the money you have deposited.
It supports split payments of up to 6 months which come in handy when you are trying to save on inflation costs. Finally, it comes with travel insurance, purchase protection, and 60-day interest-free credit on every purchase.
However, nothing is perfect, and the Resurs Gold Mastercard has a few disadvantages to consider. For instance, it does not have a referral program meaning you do not earn a credit card referral bonus for any family, friends, or colleagues you invite to apply for the card.
2. Marginalen Gold Mastercard
The Marginalen Gold credit card prides itself as one that offers lots of benefits to those who shop online and travel a lot. It comes with nine different types of insurance, including travel insurance protection that covers cancelation, baggage protection, delay cover, and accident protection, among others.
However, travel insurance is only effective, if you have paid at least 75% of the trip with the card. Whenever you shop online, you get cashback. You also enjoy discounts in at least 200 stores connected to the rebate program and you can get as much as a 25% discount when you shop online through the Handla smart app.
The card has a 50-day interest-free period. If for some reason you cannot afford to clear your debt, the card offers two payment-free months, but the months must not be consecutive. Whenever you run into a hitch with the card, you can contact the ever-responsive customer service by chatting or calling.
It has a fair interest rate of 17.73%, and it will cost you an annual fee of SEK 195. Another downside is the lack of bonuses which are usually a great incentive for any prospective cardholder.
3. OKQ8 Visa Credit card
If annual fees have always been a deterrent when applying for a credit card, then you should try the OKQ8 credit card. There's no yearly fee and no minimum income requirement. It's also the most favorable option if you do not have any employment history; so long as you are 18 years or older, you qualify.
It offers two payment-free months per year, but the catch is your last three months must have been promptly paid, and the two months you choose should not be in a row. You earn 0.75% on deposited amounts, but the interest limit is SEK 150,000. Although it offers unlimited and free withdrawals, once you deposit in the card account, you cannot access any credit until you have used up the deposited amount.
The few disadvantages you have to put in mind are the high fees when transacting abroad, the high costs involved when making partial payments, and the lack of default insurance. Still, it provides travel insurance and cancellation protection if you pay for trips with the card.
4. Swedbank Gold Credit Card
According to Airlapse, you can earn one point for each krona spent when making purchases with the Swedbank gold card. Although its application process is easy and can be done via Internet Banking, the requirements can bar some interested applicants.
For you to qualify for this card, you must have a steady income for at least six consecutive months and the after-tax income must be at least 350 Euros. Your monthly expenses should also not exceed 40% of your income nor should you have any outstanding credits at the Seedbank or other creditors. If you will not repay the credit with a salary, then you must have proof of the income source.
You get to enjoy extensive travel insurance for yourself and your family. The credit limit is 600 Euros and if you cannot pay within the prescribed period you have a 40-day interest-free period. You do not have to pay commissions for worldwide cash withdrawals of up to 500 Euros and you can manage the card while you are on the move, thanks to Internet Banking and the bank’s mobile app.
The best thing about the card is you do not have to wait until you receive the card to start using the credit limit; immediately after you sign the credit card agreement, you are good to go.
What Should You Look for When Selecting a Credit Card?
The essence of a credit card is to make life easier for you by adding more value. So, among the things you should consider when applying for a credit card according to North Dakota State University include:
There are numerous charges attached to credit cards, one of which is the annual fee that will be charged just for having the card. Some cards charge as high as $500 annually which is quite exorbitant so you can avoid this fee by applying for a no-annual-fee card, or at least one with lower charges.
You will also have to pay a late fee if you are late paying your credit card bill. The first-time penalty can be low but subsequent violations can go up to $40. You can however ensure that this does not happen by at least paying the minimum amount and setting up autopay.
Every time you transact worldwide, you incur a foreign transaction fee and this usually averages 3% per transaction. If transacting worldwide is inevitable, go for a card with no foreign transaction fee. Other charges include cash advance fees, balance transfers, over-the-limit, and returned payment fees. If you are not careful, such fees will add up and may make being a cardholder expensive.
Unlike when choosing an investment plan and you go for one with high-interest rates, credit cards are the opposite. Banks are lending you money and you have to pay at an interest rate so in this case, you should opt for one with low rates. Remember that interest compounds daily on the outstanding basis.
Interest will be calculated and added to whatever you owe at the end of each day. It is applicable when you roll over the outstanding amount to the next billing cycle so you should always pay your bill when it falls due. Note that even if you pay the minimum amount, the remaining balance will still attract interest.
Don't fall prey to introductory interest rates designed to entice new cardholders into thinking they will forever enjoy 0% APR (Annual Percentage Rate). Cards have different APRs depending on a customer’s creditworthiness hence you will most likely see it as a range.
For instance, if you come across a credit card with 13.5%-18% APR, it implies that customers who pay their credit in time will enjoy the 13.5% while those who keep defaulting will be charged 18%.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your credit card is to make use of the bonus and reward program it offers. Some credit cards offer customers cashback rewards such that when you make a purchase, you earn points or money that you can use to make more purchases.
Such rewards are offered on a percentage basis; for instance, you can earn one point or SEK 1 for every SEK 100 spent. The catch is you can earn cashback if you spend on goods or services in a specific category and there is a maximum amount of cashback you can earn within a certain period.
The Credit Card Limit
It can be enticing to have a credit card that offers you SEK 50,000 limit yet your income is much lower. Fortunately, banks always have their way of predicting your ability to repay the credit by looking at your credit history, your income, and limits on other cards. Still, while you may have a credit card with a high limit, it does not mean that you have to reach it. Managing the limit responsibly ensures that your credit score goes high so you can be eligible for other more important loans such as mortgages.
Why You Should Use Credit Cards in Sweden
Since Sweden is the first country to go cashless, you need to embrace the fact that credit cards and electronic transfers are the only way to survive while in the country. The number of people who use cash while in Sweden has dropped significantly to around 1%.
Among the many reasons that going cashless gained traction is that cash is dirty. According to Wired, one entrepreneur, Jowan Osterlund claimed that cash is dirty hence he prefers using Swish, a payment app used by at least two-thirds of Sweden’s population. It's no wonder that when the coronavirus pandemic hit, cash was discouraged to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Having plastic money and digital currency will make your life easier in Sweden. Although under the Sveriges Riksbank Act cash is still legal tender in Sweden, the number of merchants who no longer accept it is high.
Cash is Becoming Less Important
The public transportation in Gothenburg and Stockholm stopped accepting cash years ago. They prefer prepaid tickets, bought using a credit or debit card, paid for through mobile applications or ticket machines. As a result, those who use the public transport system prefer buying monthly travel cards. Therefore, for your convenience, have a credit card ready whenever you are in Sweden.
The same case applies to when you are buying souvenirs to take back home. According to Sweet Sweden, souvenir shops and other stores are at liberty to not accept cash as they prefer mobile payments or payments by credit card. Additionally, having a good time in Sweden demands having a credit card because restaurants and bars also prefer it as their ideal means of payment. Besides, with Sweden still getting lots of attention due to increased gang violence, you eliminate being a mugging victim by not carrying cash with you.
The Two Type of Credit Cards in Sweden
It's important to let you know that there are two types of credit cards in Sweden – regular and prepaid credit cards. The prepaid credit card helps in paying for every transaction with money loaded into the card. It does not carry a credit balance; instead, you pay for each purchase with the secured payment. The deductions continue until the balance is exhausts.
The prepaid credit card doesn't link to the checking account, making it an attractive option if you don't want to pay interest. Also, if you are an impulse buyer who needs to stay in check to avoid overspending it's a solid option. It is also ideal if you do not have a good credit score.
On the other hand, regular credit cards allow you to borrow a certain amount of money which you pay back in time. Otherwise you are charged a late fee. The borrowed money carries interest which you can avoid by always paying in full on time or before the grace period lapses.
Now that you know the types of credit cards in Sweden and the need for one, you can make the right decision whenever you travel to the Nordic country.
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Written by Allen Lee
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