In Norway, smartphone payment app Vipps is being increasingly used by both buskers and beggars, with fewer people now carrying cash.
Executives with the company that developed the app are aware of the trend in its use, reports NRK (in Norwegian).
“It is a while since we saw the first beggars using Vipps. There are many beggars using the app,” Vipps deputy director Elisabeth Haug told the broadcaster.
Haug said that the obvious reason for Vipps being used in this way was that it was difficult for beggars to raise money in cash alone, given the number of people who no longer carry physical money.
Receiving money through the app requires the user to have a Norwegian personal ID number, Norwegian mobile phone number and Norwegian bank account. As such, beggars who use Vipps are primarily Norwegian citizens, the deputy director said.
Beggars from other countries may be able to use the service by borrowing account information or smartphones.
“In that case the law would be broken. Abuse of others’ identity will be clamped down on,” Haug said.
No instances of illegal use of the app have yet been reported to authorities by Vipps, she added.
“We are monitoring this around the clock. If we detect suspicious traffic, we look more closely at the issue,” she said to NRK, stressing that potential criminal activity is reported to police at an early stage as a matter of process.