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Norwegian mobile payments provider strikes deal with SpareBank 1

Norwegian banking group has agreed a deal that will see it take over the systems and customers of payments service provider mCash in Norway

Banking alliance SpareBank 1 has signed a contract with mobile payments operator mCash to use the company's payments system in Norway.

The move follows the recent launches of mobile payment apps such as Vipps by DNB and MobilePay by DanskeBank into the Norwegian market.

SpareBank 1 is an alliance of 16 independent banks, which together form Norway's second-largest financial institution. Each bank is a fully fledged provider of financial products and services to individuals and businesses.

Contrary to some media reports, mCash has not been acquired, said CEO Daniel Döderlein.

“Mcash as a company is not going anywhere and we are not for sale. SpareBank 1 has bought a licence to use our system in Norway, along with all our existing Norwegian customers and agreements,” he said.

It is likely the mCash brand will now disappear in Norway and be rebranded by SpareBank 1, while mCash turns its focus overseas.

“This deal is unusual but suits both parties really well. SpareBank 1 is working exclusively with the Norwegian market and needed a good technical solution,” said Döderlein.

“It was never our intention to go directly to market with our services, but we did that in response to the competing products hitting the market. Now the market need is proven, this deal with SpareBank 1 allows us to return to our original strategy of developing mobile payment technology and licensing that software to banks.”

The deal is a twist in the race for mobile payment supremacy in Norway. The future for mCash looked questionable when DNB launched Vipps, closely followed by DanskeBank rolling out their mobile payments system in the country.

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The three main players are all striking deals with high street stores and online merchants. Mcash is now accepted at branches of the budget supermarket Bunnpris and fast-food chain Burger King.

From early 2016, Norwegian users of Danske Bank’s MobilePay will be able to use the app to pay at all Rema 1000 supermarkets and selected branches of 7/11 and Narvesen convenience stores, while DNB has plans to add merchant services to Vipps in the near future.

“With this acquisition we strengthen our mobile efforts and are well positioned to meet future digital customer needs,” said SpareBank 1 chairman Jan-Frode Janson.

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