• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3
The Cashless Society
Norway's second largest bank abandons cash
From Monday, no Nordea branches will handle cash. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Norway's second largest bank abandons cash

The Local · 30 Oct 2015, 16:59

Published: 30 Oct 2015 16:59 GMT+01:00

Announcing the plans on Friday, Norway's number two bank said the move was prompted by falling demand. Only one payment in twenty in Norway is made using notes or coins. This is fewer even than in neighbouring Sweden, which has attracted global attention for its rapid move towards electronic transactions.

The bank described the move in a statement on Friday as an “important strategic step into the digital world”. Handling cash exposes bank staff to security risks and makes it hard for banks to comply with money laundering laws, it claimed.

Only one Nordea branch, Oslo Central Station, still handles cash over the counter. The bank said the service was not sufficiently popular to warrant continuing. Cash will still be available through cash machines (ATMs).

Åse Dahl, bank manager at Oslo Central Station, said customers had adapted to cashless banks.

“We have only seen a marginal increase in transaction volumes in recent years. This is despite the fact that for almost a year Oslo Central has been the only branch of ours to offer this kind of service,” she said.

“Society is getting steadily more digital, and customers want to do as much as possible online or on mobiles,” Dahl told broadcaster NRK.

“The whole of society is going in this direction. The other banks will follow – it’s just a matter of time,” she said.

Access to cash in Scandinavia has gained international attention after The Local reported on a campaign against its disappearance, headed by former National Police chief Björn Eriksson.

Eriksson, now head of a lobbying group for the Swedish security industry, argues that cash is a crucial part of society’s infrastructure. He alleges that the decision to abandon cash is being made by banks simply to increase profits:

“Something is being privatized without people knowing what the implications of that privatization are.”

People in rural areas and pensioners could be disadvantaged, he said, while security risks were being outsourced from banks to poorly-equipped small businesses.

“People end up sitting with cash that nobody wants to take. When banks don’t take cash, it ends up being handled by teenage girls in small country shops, where security isn’t as high as in banks.”

Eriksson also argues that the mobile card readers that often replace cash rely on good mobile reception, which is often patchy in rural parts of Scandinavia.

But Per Skorge, general secretary of the Norwegian Farmers’ Union, said he was generally positive towards the move towards electronic money:

“Mobile reception is an issue, but then the discussion should be about how to get better mobile reception.”

Customers who buy from farm shops generally want to pay by card, he said. “People don’t usually have cash, so it’s better if people can pay by electronic means,” he argued, adding that electronic payments helped to prevent tax dodging.

For more news from Norway, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Today's headlines
Norwegian minister: Immigration reforms inadequate
Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug. Photo: Lise Åserud/NTB Scanpix

Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug of the anti-immigration Progress Party warned that further immigration and asylum restrictions may be on the way.

Tourist presumed dead after Norwegian waterfall drop
Photo: Ned Alley/NTB Scanpix

An American tourist is feared dead after falling from a height of at least 20 metres into a waterfall late Sunday afternoon.

Number of Norwegians joining Isis in decline
Ubaydullah Hussain and his lawyer, Hilde Wiig Nicolaysen. Hussain was charged with recruiting foreign fighters to the terror group. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

A number of recently published reports from Scandinavian intelligence services suggest that Isis recruitment peaked across Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia in 2013/2014.

Man kicked off Norwegian flight over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A Norwegian flight from Sweden was delayed after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

Norway terror: Five years later
Norway PM: ‘Time does not heal all wounds’
PM Erna Solberg, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit lay wreaths in Oslo on Friday as Norway marks five years since the terror attack that killed 77 people. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt

Norwegian PM Erna Solberg addressed the nation on Friday as Norway marked the fifth anniversary of a right-wing fanatic’s hateful terrorist attack.

Norway terror: Five years later
Norway's open values intact five years after Breivik attack
The inscription reads: "If one man can display so much hate, think of how much love we can all display together". Photo: Dennis Lehmann/Scanpix

"If July 22nd, 2011 was a test for democracy, I think one can say we have passed it."

Man who fired on Norway police used starter's gun
File photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix

The Bergen man who precipitated Monday’s rare police shooting fired on officers with a starter police.

Norwegian skier stripped of wins over asthma mistake
Martin Sundby competing in the Oslo Skishow last month. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

Norwegian cross country skier Martin Sundby has been deprived of his wins in the 2015 Tour de Ski and banned for two months for using a banned asthma drug.

Norway is the best at doing what the EU says
Norwegian PM Erna Solberg and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

Norway tops the Internal Market Scoreboard for the third year running.

Video
Norway couple takes wedding photos to epic new heights
Photo: Stan Serdjukov/ © www.fotograftromso.no

Best wedding photos ever?

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
National
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Education
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
2,085
jobs available