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Payments in the Nordics

​Europe should look to how digital payments are done in Denmark and to the country’s underlying payment infrastructure, says Geronimo Emili, CashlessWay, one of the main speakers at this week’s event on cashlessness in Copenhagen. Currently on a European tour promoting cashless payments, the Italian advocate of banning the big notes shared his vision of a cashless Europe along with speakers from Danish retailer Coop, The Danish Bankers’ Association and Nets.

​In Italian stores, paying by credit card isn't quite 'tap and go' yet. Often the consumer will need to trust the merchant with his or her credit card as the terminal is placed somewhere else than at the point of sale (POS).


The example is given by Geronimo Emili, founder of CashlessWay, in his keynote speech at the Get F'IT event on 21 June as one of those little things that could make all the difference. Driving through Europe on their #NoCashTrip, it was an eye-opener for Emili and his team to observe how in most Danish stores, the consumers operate the payment terminal themselves, and that the terminal is always visible, centrally placed on the counter.


"Paying by credit or debit card in a country like Italy is often a slow and troublesome affair, and the majority of merchants still prefer cash. Having the payment terminal placed in front of the customer is entirely normal for you in Denmark, but to me, as an Italian, it is interesting to see how small things like that change the user experience," said Geronimo Emili.


Well aware that his observations could seem trivial to a Danish audience, Geronimo Emili nonetheless pointed out how, due to differences in culture, tradition and technological options across Europe, seemingly insignificant things could be of primary importance to some countries.


User-friendliness will pave the way

Thanks to decades of dedicated efforts across the industry to develop and disseminate digital payment solutions, Denmark is now practically on the verge of cashlessness. But although Emili perceives Denmark as a European role model within digital payments, he fears cultural barriers could stand in the way of adopting the country's payment culture.


"No doubt that Denmark and the Nordics are leading the way, and I believe Denmark could be the first cashless country in the world. But applying your model in other cultures – not countries, but cultures – could be quite difficult. Even if you copy the Danish system directly to an Italian context, you will still have the Italian people, and the cultural differences, and you would probably still have a lot of work to do," warned Geronimo Emili.

While price and security matter, Emili believes user-friendliness will pave the way for the adoption of digital payments in Italy and abroad:

"When it becomes clear to the end-user that paying by card or mobile is easier, safer and perhaps even a better deal than by cash, then you'll be able to convince even the most conservative target groups. You'll start changing old cultural patterns and traditions - also in Italy."


The contactless Dankort ready for the mobile

On the day, Henriette Dunkjær Andersen, Domestic Card Schemes, Nets, told the audience about the launch of the mobile contactless Dankort in the autumn. The mobile version will allow consumers to 'tap and go' in a mere second without inserting their card or entering a PIN for all amounts below DKK 200.


The adoption rate of the contactless Dankort launched last summer could bode well for the launch of the mobile contactless Dankort, and is a good example of user-friendliness as a driver for digital payments.


The Get F’IT event 

The Get F'IT event was hosted by Copenhagen Fintech Innovation and Research (CFIR) which is a Danish non-profit finance, IT and fintech cluster organisation that undertakes research and education within financial technology.

Geronimo Emili was joined by key note speakers René Thomsen, Head of Office, The Danish Bankers' Association, Peter Dideriksen, Project Manager, Coop, and Henriette Dunkjær Anderse, Manager, Domestic Card Schemes, Nets.