Cash is increasingly viewed by Nordic banks, businesses, and tax and financial regulators as outdated and inefficient.

Author: Gerard O' Dwyer

Scandinavian states share a common goal: to transition to cashless societies by 2030, as the rising popularity of mobile payments continues to reshape how Nordic economies operate.

Cash is increasingly viewed by Nordic banks, businesses, and tax and financial regulators as outdated and inefficient. Difficult to police, cash is seen as the oxygen that feeds the “grey economy,” depriving national coffers of precious tax revenues. The latest central bank data estimate that the informal economy accounts for between 8% to 12% of GDP across the Nordics.

In 2016, less than 20% of transactions within the Nordic region were conducted in cash. A pan-Nordic survey by Deloitte, released in November, found that 30% of Danish consumers use their mobile phones to pay in-store for products and services at least once a month. The corresponding percentages for Sweden, Norway and Finland were 26%, 10% and 6%, respectively.

“Mobile-payment solutions reduce the need for cash,” says Frederik Behnk, Deloitte’s head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications in Denmark. “What the survey shows is that Denmark is well positioned to become one of the world’s first cashless societies.”