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Danish mobile payments users get lock-screen and Touch ID technology

Holders of Denmark’s national debit card can use their fingerprints to instigate payments

Denmark’s national debit card, Dankort, has been upgraded so that its mobile app and wallet can accept fingerprint authentication and payments when phone screens are locked.

Dankort is the country's most popular payment system, with close to 5.5 million debit and credit cards issued in a country of just 5.6 million people.

“The Danes have really taken to contactless payments and have quickly become used to this new and faster way of paying,” said Jeppe Juul-Anders, senior vice-president of Nets, the technology provider for Dankort. “We are now offering the option to make contactless payments by phone in a way that matches the user experience of the physical Dankort.”

The new lock-screen functionality allows tap-and-go payments for amounts up to DKK200 (£24). Also, iPhone users can choose to use Touch ID to validate larger payments, something that previously required a four-digit security code.

For Android users, lock-screen payments have been available since April, and fingerprint authentication is in the pipeline. Nets is working on this, but does not yet have a launch date.

The new payment functionalities come after Bokis, a Danish banking collective of more than 60 local banks, became the first bank to offer Dankort mobile payments in March this year. Nets will not disclose its number of mobile users, but says about 25% of all Dankort payments were contactless in April.

The move comes as support for biometrics is booming. In a 2016 Visa Payments Study of 14,200 respondents across seven European countries, 73% said they saw two-factor authentication (using biometrics with a payment device) as a secure way to confirm an account holder. More than half of respondents also cited fingerprint recognition as their preferred form of biometric authentication.

Responding to this trend, Nets and Bokis first tested new payment methods in May. Partnering with the Danish Supermarket Group, they gave a limited number of users access to mobile tap-and-go payments in the group’s Netto, Føtex, Bilka and Salling chains.

Nets also backs up its biometrics with wider security technologies. Juul-Anders said the company has “built neural networks that constantly monitor all transactions and all transaction flows in order to prevent fraud in any shape or form”.

After the completion of Dankort’s mobile payment roll-out, Nets expects other Danish retailers to follow suit in the coming months.

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