Frontpage News 2016 We do not want to ...

Feature article: We do not want to force a cashless society on anyone

7 September 2016

By Michael Busk-Jepsen, Director of Digitisation at the Danish Bankers Association 
 
CEO of SikkerhedsBranchen (the Danish trade association for security) Kasper Skov-Mikkelsen, wrote a feature article in the Danish newspaper, Jyllandsposten, stating that Danish banks want to abolish cash.

Overall, Kasper Skov-Mikkelsen has clearly not understood our attitude in this area. We are not suggesting abolishing cash – we are suggesting making the types of payment one wishes to receive optional.
 
Today, shops are required by law to accept cash payments. We believe that people should be open towards certain business being able to refuse cash payments – initially as a pilot scheme.
 
First and foremost, there is nothing that reduces the risk of robbery more effectively than removing cash and it is difficult to see good reasons as to why petrol stations and all-night shops are forced to keep cash lying around 24/7. Historically seen, there are very few robberies of businesses without cash.
 
The Danish Bankers Association does not want to force a cashless society on anyone. However, we do want to contribute to giving some limited businesses the option of flexibility. Is it, for example, strictly necessary that we can pay with coins in a taxi, in a café or at an all-night shop? 80 pct. of payments in retail shops today are digital. Because that is what consumers choose.
 
New guidance from the Danish Consumer Ombudsman about children and payment solutions will soon be published. This is also in recognition of the fact that including our children in today’s Danish society naturally requires that they can also use new payment solutions. This is a clear signal that the world is going through a digital transformation. We want to make Denmark more digital – and above all, we want to do this through dialogue.
 
Kasper Skov-Mikkelsen writes that digital money also requires security – and that it is just as expensive. Here are two important points: cash rob-beries are often connected with threats, assault and people, who are injured both physically and mentally. In spite of everything, online bank robbery only costs money.
 
Banks are accused of not giving consumers a choice. This is, first and foremost, wrong, but this also talks down to consumers. In fact, digitisation is to a large extent due to consumers choosing to opt in. How much cash do you have right now in your wallet?  When did you last withdraw DKK 100, because you owed your colleague money? No, you most likely transferred the money on your phone. People choose digital payments because it is easy, convenient and effective. 
 
Consumers have a lot of power. And that is something we should all be very happy about. If a supermarket refuses to accept cash, it can cost customers. Just like today, it can cost customers if a business does not choose to accept electronic payments.
 
A digital society naturally raises questions of the right to privacy and a Big Brother society. But should this mean that we simply drop the new, convenient and easy solutions? The development shows that people want and choose these new solutions and the figures for electronic payments are only increasing.
 
Access to data is, of course, also a political question. Banks comply with legislation, so if there is a political wish against giving access to payment data to anything or anyone, this can be decided from the political side of things. And this is a debate that we would like to shed light on.
 
Denmark is the only country in Europe with a so-called cash rule – even so, it is one of the countries in Europe with the most digital payments. Let’s support digital development by giving selected shops the freedom to choose accepted forms of payment for a certain period and let us evaluate how this scheme goes together.
 
Read the feature article on www.jyllands-posten.dk
Published in Jyllandsposten on 7 September 2016
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