Norway may be cashless society by 2020

norway-flagA leading Norwegian financial organisation has said the country is on course to becoming a cashless society by 2020.

Despite critics arguing that people should be allowed to purchase things without a trace, data shows that just five per cent of Norwegian transactions involve issuing cash.

Finans Norge supports bringing an end to cash-based transactions in the Scandinavian country, claiming that such a policy could prevent issues such as financial crime, so-called black money and robberies. The confederation, which represents 200 active financial institutions and groups in the country, said that it would be possible to live in a cashless society as only a small proportion of transactions were made with cash.

The organisation pointed out that in the first six months of this year there was an 8.6 per cent increase in card use, with people less inclined to handle cash due to the costs involved. It also noted that cash is now used in just five per cent of Norwegian transactions, with just the UK and Sweden recording a lower figure.

However, critics of scrapping cash as well as privacy advocates believe that bringing an end to cash transactions could affect a person’s right to privacy. Venstre Party member Guri Melby said people must be allowed to pay with cash for things without everything they purchase being recorded.

He went on to say that the removal of cash won’t lead to crime disappearing as there is already a high amount of fraud linked to electronic payments and bank cards as well as new payment methods such as Bitcoin, pop up. He added that the crime opportunities did not depend on the payment methods available in society.

Datatilsynet, Norway’s data protection authority, also was against the idea, noting that it would be a major concern from a policy perspective if people were not allowed to pay for things anonymously.