Denmark’s cards and payments industry is well developed, and its consumers are prolific users of payment cards. The country has the world’s highest frequency of card use, with 210 transactions per card in 2017.
As cash use continues to decline, Denmark is increasing its efforts to become a cashless society, backed by government support for electronic payments. Danish consumers are very comfortable with payment cards and mobile phones, with Dankort the most commonly used card scheme in the country and MobilePay leading the way in peer-to-peer payments.
With preference for mobile proximity and contactless payments gradually growing, there is an opportunity for Danish providers to emphasise their advantages over traditional payment tools.
National debit card scheme Dankort accounted for 76% of the total debit card transaction value in 2017. Dankort operates a zero-interchange-fee model, and has dominated the market since launching in 1983, although Mastercard and Visa are strengthening their presences.
To enable international payments, banks offer Visa-Dankort co-badged cards that can be used as Dankort cards in Denmark and Visa cards outside the country.
E-commerce posted a compound annual growth rate of 17% between 2013 and 2017 to reach DKK115.4bn ($16.33bn) in 2017. According to PostNord’s E-Commerce in the Nordics report, Denmark has the third-highest percentage of online shoppers in the Nordic region, with 63% of consumers shopping online at least once a month in 2016.
Payment cards and bank transfers remain the preferred payment methods, accounting for 76.3% of the e-commerce transaction value in 2017. Digital and mobile wallets account for nearly 20%.
Contactless payments are growing gradually. The first contactless Dankort card was launched in 2015; by the end of 2016, more than half of all issued Dankort cards had contactless functionality, and contactless payments accounted for more than 15% of all Dankort payments, according to Denmark’s central bank.
Danish consumers are not prolific users of pay-later cards. Frequency of use per card per year stood at 33.6 in 2017, while Sweden and Norway recorded rates of 60.7 and 34.1 respectively.
Many Danish consumers hold international credit cards from schemes such as Mastercard or Diners Club, typically as a supplement to a Dankort card, or as a company card.
Danish consumers have become more prudent in their spending due to growing debt, resulting in lower usage of credit cards. Household debt in Denmark was among the highest in the OECD, according to its 2016 Denmark Economic Survey report. The ratio of household debt to GDP in Denmark was 127%, with mortgages accounting for the majority.