Norway Strengthens the Right to Pay Cash
The Norwegian government is seeking to strengthen citizens’ right to use cash and solidify its commitment to ensuring complete payment choice.
Following an initial survey by the Financial Supervisory Authority in 2021 that found many banks were no longer accepting responsibility for providing cash services, and the so-called ‘cash crisis’ of May 2022 when card terminals across the nation went down for hours, highlighting the ongoing importance of cash, the government is looking to shore up cash services and the right to pay with banknotes and coins.
There is a need to clarify the rules and strengthen the consumer’s right to cash payment. The cash crisis… this year showed that cash payments must also be taken care of for emergency reasons.
Despite Norway’s present Financial Contracts Act stating cash is a ‘compulsory payment method’ and thus must always be accepted, an increasing number of shops are refusing it. There remains room for interpretation—especially in the case of online sales—creating the need for updated legislation.
In September 2022, the Ministry of Justice and Emergency Preparedness submitted a proposal for changes to the Act to strengthen the right to pay cash, with physical businesses being required to accept it and provisions in place to consider individual cases for other services. Additionally, the amendments would clarify that cash would not be a compulsory payment method for internet-based trade.
Kim Hamre, founder of Norway’s pro-cash grassroots movement JA til kontanter (YES to cash), explains how the legal changes are progressing as of early 2023.
Since 1 October 2022, banks have been given stricter requirements to offer better cash services as part of the Financial Enterprises Act § 16-8. My organisation—JA til kontanter—will hold them accountable and raise any issues with the Norwegian Supervisory Authority.
JA til kontanter’s ongoing efforts also include outreach to youth groups—especially those organised for children planning a future in politics—explaining the importance of cash to address the present knowledge gap. Additionally, a meeting is planned with the Ministry of Justice and Emergency management to highlight the essential contribution of cash to a stable economy and disaster resilience.