Payment patterns in Denmark

Abstract icon Today, most payments by consumers and firms are electronic. This section describes how electronic retail payments are transacted in Denmark.

When consumers buy goods and services in stores or online, money must be transferred from the consumer to the retailer. This could be in the form of cash, i.e. banknotes and coins, or via a deposit in a bank account. Both are financial claims. Cash is a claim on a central bank, such as Danmarks Nationalbank, while a deposit in a bank account is a claim on the account holder's bank.

Today, most payments made in Denmark are executed electronically by transferring an amount from one bank account to another. Electronic retail payments are cleared and settled in the retail payment systems – the Sumclearing, the Intradagclearing and the Straksclearing. The payment instruments typically used by the Danes are:

Debit card                

A payment card that can be used for withdrawing cash and buying goods and services. The amount is debited directly from the cardholder's bank account. The Dankort is an example of a debit card.

Credit card

A payment card that can be used for buying goods and services and possibly for cash withdrawals on the basis of an approved credit line. For payments by credit card, the money is not withdrawn from the cardholder's account until sometime after the payment, typically once a month.

Direct debit

The payee initiates payment from the payer's account on the basis of consent from the payer. Betalingsservice is an example of a service that allows the payer to pay recurring bills by letting the payee initiate future payments once the bill has been registered for direct debit.

Credit transfer

The payer initiates the payment, which takes place as a transfer of funds from the payer's bank account to the payee's bank account. Credit transfers can be effected in several ways, e.g. via online or mobile banking.

Inpayment form

The joint inpayment form can be used to pay bills – at the post office, at the bank and via online banking. The inpayment form makes it possible to transfer funds directly to the creditor's bank account.

Mobile payments

Mobile payments are payments made by mobile phone. Some of the most frequently used mobile payment solutions in Denmark are MobilePay, the Dankort app, Apple Pay and Google Pay. The actual payment can be made in several ways, depending on the solution used. Payment via MobilePay typically takes place as a credit transfer, while a payment via e.g. the Dankort app, Apple Pay or Google Pay is registered as a card payment.