Today, most payments made by Danes take place digitally – in 2023, this was true for almost 9 out of 10 payments in physical stores. This can be seen from a recent survey by Danmarks Nationalbank on citizens' payment habits and preferences. According to the survey, Denmark is one of the most digitalised countries when it comes to payments. On average, every Dane makes more than one card payment a day, and we shop on the Internet to a much larger extent than most other Europeans.
Fewer cash payments in society
The use of cash for payments has halved from 2017 to 2023 in Denmark. There are therefore many indications that more Danes are choosing not to use cash as a means of payment in stores. However, cash is not about to disappear any time soon, and it is also used as a store of value and for payments between private individuals. One in eight payments were made with cash in shops in 2021.
Mobile payments popular are in Denmark
Danes are increasingly using their mobile phones when making purchases in stores, where more than one in five payments are being made with a mobile phone. The so-called wallet payments – where consumers’ payment cards are stored digitally – are proving particularly popular. This applies, for example, to Apple Pay and Google Pay, which for the user largely function in the same way as contactless card payments in stores.
Mobile payment solutions in the Danish payment market
In Denmark, it became possible for private individuals to make payments to each other using a mobile phone when MobilePay was launched in 2013. Subsequently, MobilePay launched solutions for both physical trade and e-commerce, and MobilePay now has more than 4.4 million users in Denmark.
The high prevalence of MobilePay among Danes is largely due to the fact that in 2014 it became possible in Denmark to make instant payments, and thus transfer money immediately around the clock, 365 days a year. The system behind instant payments was implemented in conjunction with the modernisation of the Danish payments infrastructure through a collaboration between the financial sector in Denmark and Danmarks Nationalbank.
Since 2017, several mobile payment solutions have been launched in Denmark for making payments in shops and via the Internet. These include Apple Pay, which launched in 2017, followed by Google Pay in 2018 and Samsung Pay in 2022.
In addition to these payment solutions, the so-called supermarket apps have also become more widespread in Demark. Supermarket apps are essentially based on consumers’ existing payment cards, which are stored digitally in an app for payments in a specific supermarket.
Danmarks Nationalbank’s survey of citizens' payment habits and preferences
Every two years, Danmarks Nationalbank examines citizens’ payment habits, including their use of mobile payments, payment cards and cash.
Selected citizens enter all their payments in a ‘payment diary’, and for each payment provide various details, including the type of payment and location, for example payment using cash in physical trade or card payment on the Internet.
In addition to the payment diary, each respondent answers a number of questions regarding their payment preferences and their views on cash, for example their preferred payment solution in physical trade and online.
Take an in-depth look at the latest data on payments
Even though the number of cash payments is decreasing in Denmark, there is not always a correlation between the amount of cash in circulation and the use of cash for payments. In connection with the latest analysis from March 2022, Danmarks Nationalbank has mapped possible reasons for the increase in cash in circulation in the period 2020-2022.