Around 100 Norwegian banks have joined forces with Norway’s largest bank, DNB, to use DNB’s new mobile payment system known as Vipps. Among them are the SpareBank1 alliance and several other small savings banks, which will become minority owners of the system DNB recently developed to pay via mobile phones.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that the new Vipps alliance resulted from several months of secret meetings among the banks in the Oslo offices of Boston Consulting Group. Vipps will now be set up as a separate company, owned the banks and aimed at confronting foreign banks’ systems head-on. DNB will have a majority stake, with 52 percent of Vipps’ shares.
DNB’s CEO Rune Bjerke said that he’d actually asked at least one of his new bank partners in Vipps “would you rather be Danish or Norwegian?” DNB was keen to recruit partners after is main rival in the Norwegian market, Nordea, had itself joined forces with Danske Bank’s Mobile Pay app, and it was expected to recruit other Norwegian banks as well. Google, Apple and Facebook are among foreign firms also offering mobile pay solutions and expected to try entering the Norwegian market. Now Vipps may fend them off, and intends to court new customers abroad itself.
In SpareBank1’s case, it decided to scrap its own mobile pay project called Mcash in favour of Vipps, for the sheer economies of scale. DNB, SpareBank1 and the other banks signing on to Vipps want the largest number of customers possible. Vipps partners also now include the Eika bank alliance and Sparebanken Møre.