Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg
Danske Bank’s Robot ‘Elton’ to Help Homeless Receive PaymentsBy
Denmark is at the frontier of the cashless society, with less than a fifth of all transactions now carried out using old-old fashioned notes and coins. But what about the homeless?
Enter “Elton the Robot.” Developed by the country’s largest bank, Danske Bank A/S, and Valcon, a consultancy, Elton is in fact a computer program that will quickly credit their accounts (yes, even the homeless are entitled to a bank account in Denmark).
There are approximately 2,600 homeless people in Denmark selling 90,000 copies per month of Hus Forbi, a charity paper inspired by New York’s Street News and London’s The Big Issue. A growing number of its customers now purchase the magazine using Danske’s MobilePay, Denmark’s answer to Apple Pay. That’s become a problem for the paper’s publishers, since transferring 20 kroner ($3) to the seller’s account each time a copy is bought using digital money is costly and time consuming.
Elton, by contrast, automates such transfers and makes them almost instantaneous, allowing the homeless Hus Forbi sellers to buy a cup of coffee even before their working day is over.