Members of the BOKIS banking collective have become the first in Denmark to offer mobile payments using Dankort, the national debit and credit card. Last month the collective launched a digital wallet that allows consumers with an Android device to make contactless mobile payments. Today it is launching a mobile wallet for iPhone and, for the first time, is enabling customers to link their Dankort to their device.
The BOKIS partnership includes 62 banks that form the small to mid-sized banks segment of the Association of Local Banks, Savings Banks and Cooperative Banks in Denmark, together with four nationwide banks: Sydbank, Spar Nord Bank, Arbejdernes Landsbank and Nykredit Bank.
In February BOKIS launched its first mobile wallet, which is available on Android smartphones and can link to MasterCard and Visa international debit and credit cards.
Today the collective took the next step and became the first in the country to enable customers to use their smartphone to pay with Dankort. By launching a mobile wallet for the iPhone at the same time, they are providing nearly half of the country with a mobile payments facility.
“Being the first banks to offer mobile payments with Dankort is a milestone that we are extremely proud of. It reflects the culture of innovation that fuels the BOKIS collective,” says Jan Kondrup, director of BOKIS and Local Banks.
Søren Nicolaisen, director of BOKIS and association Nationwide Banks, added: “Dankort continues to be the favorite Danish debit card, and we are seeing a growing interest in mobile payments among Danes, so this was the obvious next step. We are looking forward to hearing our customers’ feedback on our new solution, but also understand that a period of familiarization will be required for both customers as well as Danish merchants.”
An exciting journey
Nets, the Nordic provider of payments, cards and information services, is behind the development of both the mobile wallet for iPhone and the ability to make mobile payments using Dankort for BOKIS banks. Jeppe Juul-Andersen, Director of Dankort at Nets, commented on the success of the launch:
“Together with the banks in the BOKIS collective we are now taking the first steps to make Dankort available on customers’ mobile phones, which we believe will pave the way for growing mobile payments in the Danish retail sector.
“It will be an exciting journey that we are looking forward to embarking on together with Danish consumers,” he says. “It will remain completely free to use Dankort and storing the card on your mobile will become part of the current offering.”
It is important to the Confederation of Danish Enterprise that their customers can pay with Dankort – including their smartphones. Henrik Hyltoft, Market Director of the Confederation of Danish Enterprise, comments: “Dankort is generally the cheapest method of payment for our member businesses and therefore for their customers. We are pleased that consumers can now pay with Dankort in the same way as other credit and debit cards linked to a mobile wallet. The major retailers are already getting ready to accept Dankort mobile payments, and other stores will follow as they update their POS terminals.”
From today, Danish consumers can use their smartphones to pay with Dankort in a number of stores, including Denmark’s largest retailer, Dansk Supermarked. Many more retailers are expected to follow in the coming weeks. Danish supermarkets are among the first merchants to accept Dankort mobile payments, via a Bluetooth acceptance device that sits next to their conventional payment terminals.
Following a simple software update to their POS terminals, all merchants that already accept contactless Dankort card payments will also be able to accept Dankort mobile payments.
To make a mobile payment using Dankort, customers must first download a wallet app from one of the BOKIS member banks. Sydbank, Spar Nord Bank, Nykredit Bank, Arbejdernes Landsbank and Lan & Spar each have their own wallet, while local banks utilize the common My Wallet.
Initially, these wallets will only be available to customers of BOKIS banks. As the solution continues to be developed, however, they will also become available to customers of other banks in the region. In addition, Nets has developed a separate Dankort app for customers of banks that have not developed a mobile wallet that supports Dankort payments.
Easy, secure and fast
As with contactless card payments, for values up to 200 kr., mobile Dankort payments will not require the user to enter their PIN. It is easy, secure, and fast.
Six wallets available:
- AL-Wallet (Arbejdernes Landsbank)
- Lån og Spar Wallet (Lån & Spar Bank)
- Nykredit Wallet (Nykredit Bank)
- My Wallet (medlemmer af Lokale Pengeinstitutter)
- Spar Nord Wallet (Spar Nord Bank)
- Sydbank Wallet (Sydbank)
These apps can be downloaded from Google Play and App Store.
UK’s Sunak says public finances won’t be fixed overnight
By William Schomberg and David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday he would not rush to fix the public finances as he readied a budget plan which will pile more borrowing on top of almost 300 billion pounds ($418 billion) of COVID-19 spending and tax cuts.
Sunak, who is due to deliver his budget to parliament on Wednesday, promised to help the UK economy through a gradual lifting of lockdown measures that will last at least until late June. But he also said he would “level with people” about how Britain’s 2.1 trillion-pound debt pile would carry on growing without action.
“This is not something that’s going to happen overnight. Given the scale of the shock we’ve experienced, the scale of the damage, this is going to take time to fix,” Sunak told Sky News on Sunday.
“But it’s important … to also have strong public finances over time.”
Sunak declined to comment on specific tax moves – including a widely reported plan to raise corporation tax – ahead of his budget speech.
He also would not say if he would stick to his Conservative Party’s promises made in 2019 – before the pandemic – not to raise the rates of income tax, value-added tax or national insurance contributions, the biggest sources of tax revenue.
The Sunday Times said Sunak was planning to raise income tax revenues by 6 billion pounds by freezing the point at which people start paying the basic rate of income tax and the threshold at which they begin paying the higher rate.
Britain has suffered the biggest COVID-19 death toll in Europe and the heaviest economic shock among big rich countries, according to the headline measures of official data.
In response, Sunak has racked up the country’s biggest ever peacetime budget deficit to protect jobs and help businesses, and to increase funding for health and other services.
“We went big, we went early, and there’s more to come and people should feel reassured by that,” Sunak told BBC television.
Businesses such as shops, bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants, gyms and hair salons will be offered 5 billion pounds of additional grants, the government said on Saturday.
BORROWING COSTS EDGE UP
But Sunak also raised the prospect of a fiscal reckoning to prepare Britain for future economic shocks and he noted a recent rise in the cost of borrowing from record lows as debt markets worldwide price in more inflation from the global stimulus push.
“Interest rates have been at very low levels, which does allow us to afford slightly higher debt levels,” he said.
“But that can always change and we’re seeing that in the last few weeks,” he said. “We have to be acute to that possibility.”
The opposition Labour Party said Sunak was already putting pressure on local authorities to increase taxes.
“We are an outlier both in terms of having had the worst economic crisis of any major economy but now also in having a government that seems to be focused on increasing tax right now on families when other countries have focused on securing the recovery,” its finance spokeswoman Anneliese Dodds said.
(Reporting by William Schomberg; Writing by David Milliken; Editing by Susan Fenton)
Sunak warns of bill to be paid to tackle Britain’s ‘exposed’ finances – FT
(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will use the budget next week to level with the public over the “enormous strains” in the country’s finances, warning that a bill will have to be paid after further coronavirus support, according to an interview with the Financial Times.
Sunak told the newspaper there was an immediate need to spend more to protect jobs as the UK emerged from COVID-19, but warned that Britain’s finances were now “exposed.”
UK exposure to a rise of one percentage point across all interest rates was 25 billion pounds ($34.83 billion) a year to the government’s cost of servicing its debt, Sunak told FT.
“That (is) why I talk about leveling with people about the public finances (challenges) and our plans to address them,” he said.
The government has already spent more than 280 billion pounds in coronavirus relief and tax cuts this year, and his March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown.
He is also expected to announce a new mortgage scheme targeted at people with small deposits, the UK’s Treasury announced late on Friday.
Additionally, the government will also announce a new 100 million pound task force to crack-down on COVID-19 fraudsters exploiting government support schemes, it said.
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)
G20 promises no let-up in stimulus, sees tax deal by summer
By Gavin Jones and Jan Strupczewski
ROME/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The world’s financial leaders agreed on Friday to maintain expansionary policies to help economies survive the effects of COVID-19, and committed to a more multilateral approach to the twin coronavirus and economic crises.
The Italian presidency of the G20 group of the world’s top economies said the gathering of finance chiefs had pledged to work more closely to accelerate a still fragile and uneven recovery.
“We agreed that any premature withdrawal of fiscal and monetary support should be avoided,” Daniele Franco, Italy’s finance minister, told a news conference after the videolinked meeting held by the G20 finance ministers and central bankers.
The United States is readying $1.9 trillion in fiscal stimulus and the European Union has already put together more than 3 trillion euros ($3.63 trillion) to keep its economies through lockdowns.
But despite the large sums, problems with the global rollout of vaccines and the emergence of new coronavirus variants mean the future path of the recovery remains uncertain.
The G20 is “committed to scaling up international coordination to tackle current global challenges by adopting a stronger multilateral approach and focusing on a set of core priorities,” the Italian presidency said in a statement.
The meeting was the first since Joe Biden – who pledged to rebuild U.S. cooperation in international bodies – U.S. president, and significant progress appeared to have been made on the thorny issue of taxation of multinational companies, particularly web giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the G20 Washington had dropped the Trump administration’s proposal to let some companies opt out of new global digital tax rules, raising hopes for an agreement by summer.
“GIANT STEP FORWARD”
The move was hailed as a major breakthrough by Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.
Scholz said Yellen told the G20 officials that Washington also planned to reform U.S. minimum tax regulations in line with an OECD proposal for a global effective minimum tax.
“This is a giant step forward,” Scholz said.
Italy’s Franco said the new U.S. stance should pave the way to an overarching deal on taxation of multinationals at a G20 meeting of finance chiefs in Venice in July.
The G20 also discussed how to help the world’s poorest countries, whose economies are being disproportionately hit by the crisis.
On this front there was broad support for boosting the capital of the International Monetary Fund to help it provide more loans, but no concrete numbers were proposed.
To give itself more firepower, the Fund proposed last year to increase its war chest by $500 billion in the IMF’s own currency called the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), but the idea was blocked by Trump.
“There was no discussion on specific amounts of SDRs,” Franco said, adding that the issue would be looked at again on the basis of a proposal prepared by the IMF for April.
While the IMF sees the U.S. economy returning to pre-crisis levels at the end of this year, it may take Europe until the middle of 2022 to reach that point.
The recovery is fragile elsewhere too. Factory activity in China grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, and in Japan fourth quarter growth slowed from the previous quarter.
Some countries had expressed hopes the G20 may extend a suspension of debt servicing costs for the poorest countries beyond June, but no decision was taken.
The issue will be discussed at the next meeting, Franco said.
(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Crispian Balmer in Rome; editing by John Stonestreet)
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