Apple Pay launches in Nordic region with Nordea, Jyske Bank and St1 partnerships

Nordic banks take on Apple Pay to give the mobile payments service a regional boost

New digital payments options are opening up for Danish, Finnish and Swedish iOS users as Apple’s mobile payment service Apple Pay launches in the region.

The US tech giant is entering the Nordic market with support from Nordea and St1 Finance in Finland and Sweden, and from Nordea and Jyske Bank in Denmark.

“Our rationale is to both drive mobile [payment] penetration and make purchases simpler for our customers,” said Anna Storåkers, head of personal banking at Nordea Sweden. “We want to provide additional tools for making really quick and easy payments both in-store and online.”

Apple Pay is supported by iPhones and iPads released since 2014, as well as the Apple Watch. It can be used at payment terminals that carry the Apple Pay or contactless card symbol and on supported mobile apps and websites.

Nordea estimates that about 78% of payment terminals in Finland and Denmark support contactless mobile payments. Sweden is still catching up with 25% penetration, but adoption is expected to accelerate rapidly. “I believe the plan is to be around 60% by the year’s end,” said Storåkers.

Apple Pay will be available to Nordea’s Visa and Mastercard users,  and to customers of other banks in Finland and Sweden through St1 Mastercard. Launched today, the card is a new venture for St1 Finance, the financial arm of Nordic energy company St1.

Read more about payment technology in the Nordic region

In Denmark, Jyske Bank will offer Apple Pay for customers with a Visa or Dankort debit card. Jyske Bank is part of Danish banking collective Bokis, which earlier this year launched its own mobile wallet for Android and iOS.

Apple has beaten rivals Google and Samsung in introducing wider payments presence in the Nordic region. Samsung Pay does exist in Sweden, but has not rolled out further. Consequently, Apple Pay’s main rivals will be local mobile payments systems, such as Swish and MobilePay, which hold a strong position in the region.

But Storåkers believes there is enough demand to support multiple payment methods. “Apple Pay is just an additional way for our customers to pay,” she said. “There are different contexts in which customers use payment services. Apple Pay will be very easy and convenient in some circumstances, and our other services will be used in others.”

According to Statcounter, iOS has a 52% market share of mobile devices in Sweden, 48% in Denmark and 28% in Finland, compared with a global average of 19%.

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