Denmark has moved a step closer toward being a cashless society as the government proposes scrapping the obligation for retailers to accept cash as payment.
The Telegraph reports: Nearly a third of the Danish population uses MobilePay, a smartphone application for transferring money to other phones and shops, and Sweden, Denmark and Finland lead the European Union in credit card payments per inhabitant.
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The Danish government said as of next year, businesses such as clothing retailers, petrol stations and restaurants should no longer be legally-bound to accept cash.
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The proposal is part of a pre-election package of economic growth measures aimed at reducing costs and increasing productivity for businesses. It would need to be approved by parliament, although the timing of a vote is as yet unknown.
The proposal is unlikely to meet much opposition in Denmark, where it is common to use debit or credit cards for the smallest of payments.
Financial institution lobbyist Finansraadet said going cashless would save shops money on security and time on managing change from tills.
However, there are some fears that a complete move to electronic payment may increase the risk of fraud. In Sweden, for example, such cases have doubled in the past decade.
Denmark’s biggest bank and owner of MobilePay, Danske Bank, has taken steps to prevent fraud by linking the app to NemID, a digital signature linked to the Danish equivalent of individuals’ National Insurance number.
Bill Gates, the founder and former chief executive of Microsoft, is a vocal supporter of the movement towards cashless societies and argues it would encourage banks to provide services to the world’s poorest, due to the low marginal costs.