War on Cash: Norway’s biggest bank wants a cashless society because of crime

If you didn’t notice, the world is inching ever so closer to a cashless society. This has been the common trend over the last couple of years, and it’s an idea supported by bureaucrats, economists, financial institutions and statists everywhere (SEE: Citi economist loses his mind – proposes abolishing cash, taxing currency).

The latest to call for an end to cash is DNB, Norway’s biggest bank. Claiming that a vast sum of cash is being utilized to fund money laundering schemes and pay for stuff in the black market, the bank says it’s time to toss cash to the trash.

Trond Bentestuen, executive vice president at DNB, told VG that nearly two-thirds of Norwegian kroner is out of the hands of government control. In fact, with 50 billion kroner in circulation, the central bank, Norges Bank, can only account for 40 percent of it, says Bentestuen.

“That means that 60 per cent of money usage is outside of any control. We think much of it revolves around the black economy and money laundering,” the banker said. “There are so many dangers and disadvantages associated with cash, we have concluded that it should be phased out.”

DNB’s executive vice president conceded to the fact that it would take some time to impose. Thus far, the Norwegian government has no plans to implement such a proposal.

So, Norway may not be embracing the concept of a cashless society (not right away anyway), but some of its regional partners are certainly heading in that direction.

Last year, it was reported (SEE: Denmark soon to become world’s first cashless society) that the government of Denmark is presenting an initiative to eliminate the obligations for retailers to accept cash as a method of payment. Right now, businesses like restaurants and clothing retailers are legally required to accept cash payments.

This year, however, that may no longer be the case.

Finansrådet, a Danish finance industry lobbying group, made the argument in May that getting rid of cash would mean companies would spend less on security, save on the costs of managing currency and change and take advantage of the latest trends.

Nonetheless, there are some detractors of the proposal. Some Danes are looking to Sweden as a case where there has been an increase in fraud and security breaches. Sweden has reported double the number of fraud cases since the Scandinavian state has a minimum of five bank branches that are cashless.

Former Texas Republican Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul opined at around the same time that a cashless society is really an attack on our privacy (SEE: Ron Paul: Cashless society is an attack on our privacy). If cash is prohibited then the state can monitor and track every single transaction.

Not only the government would like the idea of a country with no cash, but financial institutions would as well.

Michael Snyder of End of the American Dream avers:

“And banks would be absolutely thrilled with a cashless society. Every member of society would be forced to use the system, bank runs would be eliminated, and every time we swipe our cards they would collect a fee,” he wrote.

“In addition, there would be absolutely no escaping the bank bail-ins that are coming in Europe. If there was no way to pull your money out of the system, there would be no way to avoid the kind of theft that has now been institutionalized by European authorities.”

This isn’t an isolated incident, either. The push towards a society without cash is being welcomed in every part of the globe. In Spain, for instance, cash transactions over 2,500 euros are no longer allowed, while the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is studying ways to introduce a digital currency to get rid of cash.

Here is what the PBOC said in a statement:

“The meeting held that China’s current economy under the new norm, explore the central bank issued digital currency has a positive practical significance and far-reaching historical significance. It can reduce the traditional distribution of digital currency note issue, the high cost of circulation, improve convenience and transparency of economic transactions and reduce money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal acts to enhance the central bank’s money supply and currency in circulation control, better support economic and social development, the full realization of inclusive finance help. Future, digital currency issuance, circulation system also helps build our new financial infrastructure construction, further improve China’s payment system, improve payment and settlement efficiency, promote economic quality and efficiency upgrades.”

Some may present the case that the market is already beginning to transform cash into an antiquated method of payment. And they may be the right. Just look at the statistics:

– Canadians use cash for only 10 percent of consumer payments.
40 percent of Americans rarely or never use cash.
– In the United kingdom, £19.8 billion was spent using plastic, online payments or checks, and £18.3 billion was paid in cash.

You can also see the decline of cash first-hand in the marketplace. It’s rare to see people pay with cash. Even if you use cash, you will receive a dirty look from the cashier. Today, people are paying with their smartphones, with their credit cards and soon with their heartbeats. It’ll be rare to see consumers pay with cash in then next 25 years.

But if you’re someone who is suspicious of the government, tired of technology and wary of the big banks then this can only mean one thing for you now: gold and cash are king.


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  1. Of course bankers want to get rid of cash, they make nothing on a cash transaction. Every business would have to except plastic payment of some type. The banks are paying us nothing for our money setting in savings accounts, while charging us 15% to 27% on our credit card debt. I am now using 40% of my monthly income to pay down $10,000 in debt in 18 months. My credit union now charges me $4.95 per month, for checking that was free for over 20 years. Bank fees are the biggest money grab that the bankers have come up with in the last 50 year.
    Without some cash on hand, what do you do if your bank account or credit accounts are frozen because of identity theft?

    I do not see cash going away anytime soon, could we get to just 10% to 20% cash transactions, sure. But I do not see it going away, no matter how much the Bankers want it.

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