The Scandinavian country is largely a cashless society, with consumers relying on mobile phone payments or plastic. While the U.S. is still far from achieving the same level of cash-free existence, increasing numbers of restaurants and retailers are now snubbing the lowly dollar bill.
Some merchants such as SweetGreen, a salad chain, refuse to open their registers for cash, telling customers they can pay only with mobile payments or cards. With some newer vending machines, only a card or mobile wallet will get that cold Coca-Cola to roll down the chute.
The stance may appear un-American — after all, currency is considered legal tender for all debts or dues — but the Treasury permits private businesses to set their own policies, which means going cashless is fine with Uncle Sam.
“What we’ve seen is a push toward electric payments because of convenience, especially for Generations X and Y and onward,” said Greg Burch, vice president of strategic initiatives as Ingenico Group, which makes payment systems for merchants. “The phone has become more personal than the wallet has.”