Danish banks lower charge for customers who make purchases abroad 

The Local Denmark
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Danish banks lower charge for customers who make purchases abroad 
Users of Dankort debit cards from Nordea and Danske Bank will now pay lower surcharges on payments made abroad, but the banks want to reverse the order. Photo: Kristian Djurhuus/Ritzau Scanpix

An order went into effect Wednesday requiring Danske Bank and Nordea to charge customers less when paying in foreign currencies. 


Customers at Danske Bank and Nordea will now pay a lower charge when they use their bank-issued debit card – referred to as a Dankort – to make purchases when abroad.

Earlier this year, the Competition Council (Konkurrencerådet) determined both Danske Bank and Nordea added unreasonable surcharges to purchases abroad — 1.5 percent within the EU and 2 percent for the rest of the world. 

As per the Competition Council’s findings, Danske Bank must drop the currency exchange surcharge altogether within the EU and reduce the rate to 1.5 percent outside the bloc, broadcaster DR reports on Wednesday.


Nordea has changed its surcharge from 1.5 percent in the EU and 2 percent in the rest of the world to 1 and 1.5 percent respectively.

Danske Bank opposes the Competition Council ruling. The bank has appealed the decision and will argue its case before a judge at the Copenhagen District Court. No date has yet been set for a hearing.

“Although we don’t agree with the council’s decision and have appealed the case with the courts, this is a case of an order by an authority, which we have to comply with by the set deadline,” Danske Bank head of media communications Stefan Singh Kailay told DR via email.

“That is exactly what we have done with the price changes of August 1st. That does not change our view of the ruling,” he wrote.

“(The council) is focusing on one element of the overall payment transaction and the level of profit on that alone, and not on the overall cost of the Visa-Dankort service. This creates a misleading picture of what we actually earn from the cards,” he wrote.

The currency exchange surcharge is applied as a percentage of the amount you pay with your card in a foreign currency, such as in foreign shops, hotels or restaurants as well as on websites.

Nordea, which has also reduced its surcharges, has also appealed against parts of the ruling according to DR.

“We do not think we have charged too much in this area, but conversely have – in good faith – set our prices in a free, competitive market. We have full transparency with our customers in this area,” the bank’s head of media communications Stine Wind told DR via email.

“Every time you complete a payment in a foreign currency with your card, you can see how much you pay as currency exchange surcharge in our Wallet,” she added.

READ MORE: Danish banks raise interest rates but many remain negative 


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