Cashless Norway?

The new Norwegian 200 banknotes. Photo: Norges bank

In 2017 the Norwegian authorities has launched a new series of banknotes. The design is unique, compared to international banknote design. The motives on the front conveys central features of Norwegian maritime history. The back of the banknote is an abstract of ocean and wind. The banknotes are intended to function as a business/visit card for Norway as well as currency. This is all very good, but do you really need cash when you are travelling in Norway?

Norway has come very far in digitization, and are aiming to stay ahead in this field. The banks, tax authorities and some politicians wants to transition into a cashless society, as a part of the digital development, and they no longer want cash to be an option.

Naturally, this has aroused counter-reactions amongst the people. The opposition have formed  the organisation ”Yes to cash”, which states that NO to cash equals NO to democracy.

The arguments toward a cashless society:

  • The digital development will make cash an excess.
  • Cost cut and efficiency. (It costs a lot of money to print and manage cash)
  • Security toward (physical) robbery.
  • It is claimed that those using cash are mainly criminals. Removing the opportunity to use cash will thus prevent crime.
  • To prevent black market labouring.

The arguments against a cashless society:

  • The right to privacy
  • The law of ownership/property (your money is not your property if the bank exclusively manages them, and you have to pay to access them)
  • Vulnerability toward hacking, power outage and times of crises.
  • Difficulty for the elders to adapt, and for kids to learn about money.
  • Well-founded mistrust to the banking system (corruption/crime)

So cash or card on your travel to Norway?

A suggestion to create pressure toward a cashless society has been to remove the duty of handling cash. But outlets are, so far, obligated by law to accept cash as a mean of payment. This means you can choose to pay with cash as you are travelling in Norway. How ever this should be Norwegian currency, NOK, as foreign currency are rarely accepted. You will find cash machines everywhere in towns and cities, and in most rural areas.

You can also pay with card almost everywhere in Norway. Most Norwegians use card only, and dont handle cash. Not all outlets accept foreign credit cards, but they accept debit cards. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted credit cards, with far fewer accepting Amex or Diners.

Happy travels 🙂


Written by: Marianne Thon Sørensen ( 07.06.2017


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