COPENHAGEN May 6 The Danish government on
Wednesday proposed getting rid of the obligation for selected
retailers to accept payment in cash, moving the country closer
to a "cashless" economy.
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 in credit card
payments per inhabitants in the European Union.
The government said as of next year, businesses such as
clothing retailers, gas stations and restaurants should no
longer be legally-bound to accept cash.
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, such as a pack of chewing gum at a convenience
Financial institution lobbyist Finansraadet said going
cashless would save shops money on security and time on managing
change from the cash register.
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' social security numbers.
Microsoft founder and former CEO Bill Gates 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.
(Reporting By Alexander Tange; Editing by Sabina Zawadzki and