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Cashless Denmark has no bank robberies in a year for first time

There were no bank robberies in Denmark last year, as a result of better security and the fact that the banks in the largely cashless society don’t hold large amounts of cash on-premise.

But the figures from Danish bank association Finans Danmark also revealed that online banking fraud has increased as criminals change their strategies.

For comparison, there were 221 bank robberies in 2000, 121 in 2004, and recent years have seen single figures, with just one in 2021.

Steen Lund Olsen, deputy chair at financial sector trade union Finansforbundet, said: “It’s nothing less than fantastic, because it’s a very extreme burden on staff every time it happens.”

However, the figures reveal that criminals are now changing their methods and moving to less risky cyber crimes.

“The physical robberies have largely been replaced by online banking fraud and other forms of digital crime, which are considerably less risky for the criminals but unfortunately pay great dividends,” said a Finans Danmark statement.

Denmark and its Nordic neighbours have been leading the charge towards a cashless society. Nordic advances with digital currencies are being made against a backdrop of cash usage across Scandinavia falling to below 10%, and where digital mobile payment alternatives, provided by Nordic fintech actors such as Swish, MobilePay and Vipps, are increasingly popular with consumers.

The arrival of Covid-19 and the limitations on the movement of people imposed to reduce its spread also accelerated the take-up of digital payments, as physical shopping reduced and many businesses moved to contactless payments only to limit contact between people.

According to UK Finance’s UK payment markets 2022 report, the pandemic had a transformative impact on the payments market by accelerating the continued decline in the use of cash payments, while the use of debit cards also slumped after years of rising usage.

“The pandemic not only led to a reduction in the total number of payments made in the UK – it also led to changes in the types of payment that were used,” said the report summary document. “People made greater use of contactless payments, online banking and mobile wallet channels, largely at the expense of cash payments.”

In the UK, like in Denmark, there has also been a surge in APP fraud, also known as bank transfer fraud. This sees criminals use fake websites and emails to trick consumers into authorising payments to them as the scammers attempt to avoid the security embedded into the banking system. It’s a growing problem which, according to banking trade body UK Finance, increased by 70% in the first six months of this year, reaching a value of £355m.

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