Finance industry organization Finans Norge said Norwegian consumers should only be paying by card, netbank or on mobile phones within six years. The group argued a cash-free society would reduce the risk of robbery, make it easier to crack down on financial crime, and save cash handling expenses.
Norwegians are increasingly using less and less cash, accounting for just four percent of household spending and five percent of payment methods in the community, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Meanwhile card purchases are on the rise, with 743.8 million transactions in the first half of 2014. It was an increase of 8.6 percent on the same time last year, according to figures from Nets and Finans Norge. Only Sweden and the UK use a lower proportion of cash.
“We have advocated that Norway can become the world’s first cash-free society,” said Finans Norge director Idar Kreutzer. “First, it reduces the risk of robbery. This increases safety for the majority. Second, electronic payments prevent financial crime. It is easier to track electronic payments than cash. Third, card use saves major costs to society. Cash handling costs society twice as much as electronic payments.”
Guri Melby of the Liberal (Venstre) party said people had the right to make transactions without a trace. “It must be possible to be able to pay for goods and services without registering,” she said. “Currently that possibility is best addressed by it being possible to use cash.”
“We also think it is naive to believe that crime disappears by removing cash,” said Melby. “We already see today that crime is moving to new areas. There is just as much fraud of bank cards and electronic payment methods, and we also see new payment methods, like for example Bitcoin, pop up. The opportunity for crime and fraud does not depend on what type of payment methods we have in society.”