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11 million users, 330,000 shops: Nordic banks to merge mobile payment apps

A group of banks in Norway, Denmark and Finland said Wednesday they plan to merge their mobile payment apps to create one of the biggest services of its kind in Europe.

11 million users, 330,000 shops: Nordic banks to merge mobile payment apps
A group of banks in Norway, Denmark and Finland said they plan to merge their money sharing apps. Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

Denmark’s Danske Bank said in a statement that it will merge its MobilePay app with Vipps, which is operated by a consortium of Norwegian banks, and Pivo, which is owned by Finnish financial services provider, OP Financial Group.

“Serving 11 million users and over 330,000 shops and web shops, the company will be one of the largest bank-owned mobile payment providers in Europe,” Danske Bank said.

The combined company, with a workforce of 500 and headquartered in Oslo, will be 65 percent owned by the Norwegian banks behind Vipps, 25 percent by Danske Bank and 10 percent by OP Financial Group, the statement said.

Vipps chief executive Rune Garborg will head the joint venture.

“To be competitive in a global payment market we need to make more of an impact, and the merger will give us the competitiveness we need,” Garborg said.

Vipps said the new service will allow cross-border payments. The banks said they expected the deal to receive final regulatory approval, including from the European Commission, “in the second half of 2021 or in early 2022.”

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Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Denmark but have income in pound sterling?

The value of the British pound has fallen steeply against the dollar in recent days but also against the Euro – and the krone. So what should you do if you live in Denmark but have income – such as a pension, rental income or a salary – in pound sterling?

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Denmark but have income in pound sterling?

Exchange rates might sound like a spectacularly dull topic, but if you live in Denmark (where, naturally, your day-to-day living expenses are paid in kroner) but have income from the UK in pounds, then the movement of the international currency markets will have a major impact on the money that ends up in your pocket.

This is not an uncommon situation – Denmark-based Brits may work remotely as freelancers from British companies and be paid for invoices in pounds, while retired Brits might be receiving a British pension.

Others might have income from rental properties or investments.

So a big loss in the value of the pound against the euro – and by extension, the krone – can have a major impact on Brits in Denmark.

The most recent fall in the value of the pound was sparked by the UK government’s new mini budget and has already seen a relative recovery. 

The pound-krone exchange rate over the last month. Chart: xe.com
 
 
But while this one-time fall is spectacular, it’s also part of a longer term trend in the fall of the value of the pound, especially since Brexit, that has seen people such as foreign-based pensioners lose a big chunk of their income.
The pound-krone exchange rate over the last 10 years. Graph: xe.com

So if you have income in pounds, what are your options?

Income in kroner – obviously this isn’t an option for everyone, especially pensioners, but the best way to protect against currency exchange shocks is to make sure that you’re paid in the same currency that you spend in.

Alternatively, income in euros: the advantage of the euro in Denmark is that its value is pegged to the krone and not sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations.

For those being paid from abroad, billing in euros means you could work in any EU country – including the anglophone ones like Ireland – and get your salary in euros.

Depending on your employer, it might also be possible for you to ask to bill in euros. 

Work in Denmark – if you’re currently not working or want to switch to local currency income, then an obvious option is to take up some work in Denmark.

Depending on your work and residency status, as well as the field you work, the practicality of this option ranges wildly from one person to the next.

READ ALSO: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national?

Exchange rate – if your income can only be paid in pounds, it’s crucial to ensure that you get the best exchange rate possible and that you don’t waste money on international transfer fees.

The best options here are online banks or money transfer services, which compete on the rates that they offer, so usually have the most advantageous rate.

Some online banks also have the option to set up accounts in both pounds and kroner, so that you can receive money in pounds and spend it in kroner without having to make bank transfers, which can attract fees.

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