Denmark is turning into a cashless society, almost every Dane knows about MobilePay, a mobile payment app launched in 2013 which facilitates money transfers and perhaps increases business sales. However, not all the shopkeepers react positively to MobilePay, “We should keep the cash!”, Anette Marie, the juice shopkeeper says.
By Winsome Lau & Hyein Jeong
The Danish government has approved a bill that allows most retailers, such as clothing, petrol stations and restaurants, to refuse to accept cash payments from 1 January, 2016. The government also set the goal of doing away with paper money by 2030 because going cash-free would save shops money on security and time to handle customers.
The government and the bank industry advocate the strengths of mobile money. Managing electronic money is much easier than cash. There is no time consuming process of designing, printing, securing and checking money. It could instead just be carried and accredited automatically by the server. Costs would be cut down.
In 2013 the country’s largest bank, Danske Bank, developed a “MobilePay” application which is the mobile-initiated-account-to-account (mA2A) immediate payment services. More than 3.1 million Danes use MobilePay regularly, and over 7000 merchants signed up to the “small business acceptance” app so that merchants can accept any electronic payments. Now, Denmark is getting closer to a cashless economy.
Shopkeeper says NO to cashless society
Walking past the Strøget, it is very obvious which shops allow MobilePay, and we can see many locals just bring their smartphone and not their wallet. The 26-year-old student, Anette Marie, catches our attention due to the information board in front of her food truck－We prefer CASH.
Anette started her juice business in Strøget 3 months ago. She accepts cash, credit card and also MobilePay. However, she prefers cash as it is more convenient. “Sometimes the customers take a long time to complete transactions in the MobilePay app.” She says.
Besides, Anette claims she is not a pro-cashless society activist, she hates everything becoming electronic and being surveillant. “Cashless society means totalitarian control, we have less freedom and don’t have full control of our money.” She explains.
She also worries about the leaking of private information when using MobilePay, the bank can check where you went and what you purchased etc, therefore she thinks cash is much safer.
Young Generation seldom use MobilePay
The move towards a future cash-free world is not welcomed by the local people. Eyvør Jensen, a 25-year-old student who lives in Copenhagen, hardly uses MobilePay to shop. She said, “Technology is now taking over our lives. We don’t need money, we just need a phone.” This is not good news for her because she does not trust technology. “I am worried about my private information being leaked, my phone number or somebody hacking my phone.” Also, she said that MobilePay is little bit complicated for her. She has an old cell-phone which always run out of battery, so she doesn’t use it.
Another student, Ashley Simons from America, said that she has no thought about using MobilePay, even though she will stay in Copenhagen for over 4 months to study. “I tried to download the application and use it, but later I gave up. It’s all in Danish and I don’t have a Danish bank account, therefore I can’t use the app.”
While Denmark is trying to transfer into a cashless society, the abolishment of cash is still under serious discussion. Mobile payment seems to be convenient, but it also has many potential risks. After all, advanced technology is a double-edged sword.