More than 98 per cent of the Swedish population today choose to use Brevgiro, Internet banks or cashpoint machines in order to pay bills and withdraw cash; only 1 to 2 per cent commonly use the Swedish Counter Service. For this reason, the Swedish Counter Service will be closed down during the latter half of 2008, following a decision taken in the Riksdag.
“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 alternatives for withdrawing cash are cashpoints, banks and shops offering this type of service.
New alternative for those who live far from a bank
In one procurement process for the purchase of payment services carried out by PTS, the aim is that no household is to have more than approximately 30 kilometres to travel to a bank. Consequently, for most households more than 30 kilometres from a bank, PTS has procured a special solution. This means that ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen will open 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 Here, bills can be paid using cash and cards, cash can be withdrawn using cards and postal giro (PlusGiro) cheques can be cashed.
In 73 rural areas, ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen will offer a service where people can pay bills using cash and postal giro cheques can be cashed. This service is offered through the rural carriers of Posten AB, since Posten AB is a subcontractor to ICA Banken and Kuponginlösen. This service will commence on 1 December.
Elderly people and persons with functional impairments in rural areas will receive a service similar to that offered today
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 at their home will receive similar services as of 1 December 2008. It is not possible for PTS to provide information yet about who will provide these services and how, since the procurement process is still ongoing. PTS will provide more information later.
PTS has been assigned to provide information and training
PTS has been assigned by the Swedish Government to provide information and training about alternatives to the Swedish Counter Service. The Agency's brochure has been available at all Swedish Counter Service locations since late May. This brochure has also been distributed to persons who utilise counter services via rural carriers. Those needing additional assistance may call a hotline. PTS will also publish announcements in daily newspapers concerning this change.
The Agency has also made direct mailings to the approximately 20 000 pensioners who still receive their pension via giro cheques and has arranged training sessions in a number of communities around the country in collaboration with pensioners’ organisations and other parties.
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.