The other day I received my new, English, debit card. It’s personalised with a lovely colourful photo, and I’m now ready to buy things without having to pay a fee every time (as I had to do with my Swedish card). It feels good to have an English card connected to an English account full of lovely English pounds. However, it doesn’t quite give you the same freedom I experience back home. Let me explain.
When I’m in Sweden and I need to park my car, I’ll use my card (or my phone) to pay. In England, unless it’s in an indoor car park, I have to use coins. In Sweden, when I get on the bus, I pay with my card (or my phone). Cash is actually banned by many bus companies. In England, again, you have to use actual money. Similarly, back home, if I want to pop into a corner store for a bit of chocolate, no matter how cheap, I use my card. Here, if I want to use my card I have to pay a small fee for the service. In the pub I have to spend at least £5 to use my card. Etc., etc. You see what I’m getting at?
I can’t really remember carrying cash in Sweden. If any of my grandparents feel like donating me a small sum I immediately have it put into my account (except if it’s from my maternal grandfather, he’s quite the computer whiz and transfers the money directly into my account). In fact, I feel quite uncomfortable carrying cash, like I’m going to lose it. Every time we go somewhere and my partner suggest getting some cash out I can’t help but moan about it. Every time I’m in a situation where I need cash I have to point it out, and how simple and efficient this would be if we were in Sweden. I do this much to the annoyance of my parter, who feels personally attacked by my criticism. He just needs to remember that I love this country, and I love being here. I just can’t help but marvel at how inefficient this reluctance to embrace digital money is.
Now it’s time for some coffee (tea for my English significant other) and some lovely, British biscuits.