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Denmark’s MobilePay expands in Finnish market through deal with retailer

Deal with Finland’s largest grocery retailer helps mobile payment service spread its reach

Finnish consumers will have more chance to shop with their smartphones after Denmark’s MobilePay announced plans to expand its presence in the country.

A partnership with Finland’s largest retailer, S Group, and its subsidiary, S Bank, will bring the mobile payment service to about 1,000 Finnish grocery stores this autumn.

As well as in-store and webstore payments, MobilePay users will be able to collect bonus points and receive electronic cash and receipts on their smartphones. Currently, mobile payments account for only about 3,000 out of more than a million daily transactions at S Group, but the new deal is expected to boost this number substantially.

“Finnish customers pay more than a million times at S Group shops every day, so this service, which is independent of the mobile device used, offers the foundation for a true revolution in mobile payments,” said Jari Annala, CFO at S Group.

The retailer said it considered other payment systems and even developing its own service, but in the end chose to partner MobilePay as a proven supplier. The app, developed by Danske Bank, has about 3.7 million users in Denmark.

“MobilePay is also well known in Finland and has been downloaded 800,000 times,” said Annala. “Time to market is considerably faster and development costs are lower with an existing and well-functioning payment platform, compared with creating our own.”

Unlike most mobile payment systems, MobilePay uses Bluetooth technology rather than near field communication (NFC). To prepare for the autumn launch, S Group is now upgrading its payment terminals with Bluetooth low-energy chips and a software update.

Read more about payments in the Nordics

S Group said MobilePay could be added to its other businesses, such as petrol stations and restaurants, at a later date.

MobilePay is already used in Finland by SEB bank, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Fazer Food Services, but it faces stiff competition from local mobile payment rivals. Several Finnish banks have started their own services, such as Nordea’s Nordea Wallet and OP Group’s Pivo. Also, Apple Pay launched in Finland last October.

Danske Bank first launched MobilePay for peer-to-peer payments in May 2013, and later expanded it to cover payments at physical stores and online. In 2017, the service was separated into an independent company fully owned by Danske Bank.

MobilePay has been present in Finland since December 2013, and now the company plans to set up an independent subsidiary in the country to support its expansion goals.

“We would like to clearly state to all banks and merchants that we will become an open platform and independent company to co-operate with all banking partners,” said Mark Wraa-Hansen, CEO of MobilePay. Group.

The organisation’s Finnish subsidiary will have development, sales, marketing and communication functions, but all new developments will remain part of MobilePay Group’s operations in Denmark.



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