Recent technological advancements point to a looming cashless society, with a recent survey indicating that most Australians expect to break free from paper-notes and coins by 2022. Soon, paying for your daily coffee with a digital wallet in your phone — or for that matter in a myriad of electronic gadgets — will be the norm, and not just a geeky fad to impress your new date.

Leading this global trend towards a cash-free society are the Scandinavian countries — where less than 6 per cent of all payments are made by cash. Denmark has recently proposed allowing most stores not to accept notes and coins, which basically means that cash will lose its widespread legal tender use. In Norway, banks are dropping access to cash in their branch offices. In Sweden — which became the first European nation to issue banknotes in 1661 — even homeless street vendors take electronic donations now.

There is much to welcome in this brave new world: ubiquitous electronic payments have the potential to be less cumbersome than handling (or losing) physical cash, reduce opportunity costs of having to find the nearest ATM and even reducing the propensity to suffer from violent purloins. FULL REPORT