Analysing How and Why Danes Use Cash
An analysis of cash in Denmark shows that while its use in physical trade has decreased, it continues to serve a key role in person-to-person payments and as a store of value.
Published by Danmarks Nationalbank—the central bank of Denmark—the report says cash is used for around 12 percent of physical trade transactions and 25 percent of person-to-person payments, where it remains popular in gifting and as pocket money. Around 35 percent of Danes hold cash savings, with low deposit rates boosting its popularity.
Danes are using cash less and less when paying for goods and services in stores, but more than one in three Danes hold cash savings, and cash is still widely used for person-to-person payments.
The analysis points out Danish stores are ‘generally required to accept cash’ and ‘in principle, consumers have a choice between cash and digital solutions in most payment situations.’ Specifically, physical stores may not refuse a cash payment providing the store is staffed and accepts digital payment solutions such as cards. It does not apply to remote trade—including online transactions—or in self-service environments.
Although overall cash usage has decreased, it is on the rise in supermarkets, with the report indicating around 20 percent of supermarket payments were cash-based in 2021. More than 40 percent of Danes say stores should not be allowed to refuse cash, and around 30 percent say a cashless society would cause them problems since cash is ‘an emergency means of payment if other solutions fail.’
Broad segments of the population want to retain the cash payment option in stores.
Regarding the benefits of cash, its importance as an alternative payment solution—available even when cashless options may be unusable—was emphasised alongside its universal acceptance.
The increase in circulating cash is attributed to another of its advantages: being a store of value. Cash savings have increased across all ages in the past few years, rising most among 40–60-year-olds, with 40 percent holding cash in 2021 versus 30 percent in 2019. The anonymity offered by cash was a key reason for using it, supporting the bearers’ desire for privacy. 12 percent of Danes reported saving cash solely for this benefit.