The Swedish Counter Service will be closed down on Monday: here are the alternatives

26/11/2008

On Monday, the Swedish Counter Service will have been completely closed down. On this day, all 370 branch offices and 130 partners around Sweden will have closed. As of Monday, counter and banking services from rural carriers will also have been discontinued. Instead, the alternatives are Brevgiro, Autogiro, cards, banks and shops.

Nearly everyone nowadays chooses to use Brevgiro, Internet banks or cashpoints in order to pay bills and withdraw cash; only a small percentage of the Swedish population has regularly used the Swedish Counter Service. For this reason, the Swedish Counter Service is being closed down during the latter half of 2008 following a decision taken in the Riksdag. However, over 70 of the 370 Swedish Counter Service branch offices have been taken over by Nordea.

“Brevgiro and Autogiro are two alternatives to the Swedish Counter Service for paying bills. For those accustomed to computers, Internet banking may be one possibility,” says Sten Selander, Head of the Postal Affairs Department at the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS), which has been assigned by the Government to provide information and training about alternatives to the Swedish Counter Service.

The main alternatives for withdrawing cash are cashpoints as well as banks and shops offering this type of service. If these cannot be used for some reason, PTS recommends that people contact their bank in order to discuss a possible solution.

New alternative when a bank is far away

In one procurement process conducted for the purchase of payment services by PTS, as assigned by the Government, the aim is that the great majority of households should not have more than approximately 30 kilometres to travel to a payment service alternative, ordinarily a bank. Consequently, for many households located more than 30 kilometres from a bank branch office, PTS has procured a special solution. This means that the two companies ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen have opened fixed service points in 15 communities in collaboration with shops, for example, in pace with the closure of the Swedish Counter Service. Here, bills can be paid using cash and cards, cash can be withdrawn using cards and giro cheques from PlusGirot can be cashed.

In 73 rural areas, ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen will offer a service through Posten AB’s rural carriers which means that people will be able to pay bills using cash and giro cheques from PlusGirot can be cashed in these areas. Posten AB will be subcontractor to ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen. This service will commence on 1 December.

Elderly people and persons with functional impairments in rural areas will have a new payment service

Those who currently receive their mail to their property boundary owing to age or functional impairment and are eligible to withdraw cash and pay bills through the rural carriers of Posten AB from their home will receive a new payment service as of 15 December. This service has been procured by PTS and replaces the counter service previously received by these households through Posten AB’s rural carriers, as commissioned by the Swedish Counter Service.

“The new payment service makes it possible for the elderly and persons with functional impairments in rural areas to continue to pay bills from their homes using cash. They can also cash giro cheques from PlusGirot, for example their pensions,” says Sten Selander.

ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen will also be in charge of this payment service. It will be provided by rural carriers of Posten AB at the homes of the elderly or persons with functional impairments, since ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen engage Posten AB as a subcontractor here as well.

For more information, please contact Sten Selander, head of Postal Affairs Department, tel. 0708-151000 or Monica Ohlsson, tel. 0706-509950.

For photos, graphs, etc. see www.betalinfo.se

The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) monitors the electronic communications and postal sectors in Sweden. The term ‘electronic communications’ includes telephony, the Internet and radio. The Agency works with consumer and competition issues, efficient utilisation of resources and secure communications. Read more at www.pts.se.