Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg

technology

Danske Bank’s Robot ‘Elton’ to Help Homeless Receive Payments

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.

Click here to read more about how Scandinavia is making cash vanish

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.

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