Norwegian Law Backs Cash for Resilience and Inclusivity

Jun 14, 2024

Norway’s government has strengthened the right to use cash with new legislation, citing inclusivity and national resilience as key drivers.

The initial proposal—presented earlier this month in parliament by Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister of Justice and Public Safety—said that while the 1999 Financial Contracts Act has provisions for ensuring the right to pay cash, it is presently unclear, leading to instances where it has not been followed. Clearer guidelines—unequivocally stating consumers can pay for goods and services ‘in all usual payment situations’ with cash—were thus advised, and the proposal received a majority vote in favour.

The changes to the Financial Contracts Act will require that cash be accepted for transactions ‘on premises where a trader sells goods or services on a fixed basis’, up to 20,000 kroner (around $1,875). This will come into effect in October 2024, with a fine-based punishment system for non-compliance being introduced in January 2025.

In her presentation of the new legislation, Mehl highlighted vulnerable groups as being especially dependent on cash, but noted that its availability is also ‘an important preparedness consideration’ since complete reliance on electronic payments could ‘weaken society’ and risk worsening any natural disasters or deliberate attacks on the infrastructure cashless payments are reliant upon.

It’s no coincidence that the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning recommends holding a supply of cash in its readiness advice for Norwegian citizens.
"Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister of Justice and Public Safety

Mehl concluded that ‘Norway has a society that does not discriminate’ and it can be easy to forget in an increasingly digital world that there are many people who remain ‘non-digital’. She praised the majority of committee members whose votes in favour of pro-cash legislation ‘recognise that we must also take care of those people.’

Pro-cash advocacy group JA til kontanter (YES to cash) has been instrumental in advancing the position of cash in Norwegian society, with the new legislation following a discussion of the issue between Kim Hamre, Head of JA til kontanter, and Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, Minister of Finance. Norges Blindeforbundet—Norway’s Association for the Blind—has also been a strong advocate for pro-cash legislation on the grounds that physical money is designed to be accessible to the widest possible number of people, including those with visual impairments.

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2024