Three Nordic digital wallet providers merge to take on global rivals

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Banks in Norway, Denmark and Finland said on Wednesday they had agreed to merge their mobile payment platforms, riding a consolidation wave in the fast-growing payments industry.

The three platforms - Danske Bank’s MobilePay, Pivo, owned by Finland’s OP Financial Group, and Vipps, owned by a consortium of Norwegian banks, including DNB - serve 11 million users and more than 330,000 shops and web shops.

The new company aims to capitalise on demand for digital wallet offerings, driven by increased online shopping and mobile phone payments, and to take on competition from companies, such as Nexi, AliPay, ApplePay and PayPal.

“Competition within payments is global, not local, and we need an even stronger footprint to compete with international players,” said Rune Garborg, the CEO of Vipps and new head of the merged company, said in a statement.

“The ambition is to create Europe’s best and most comprehensive digital wallet,” Danske Bank said in a statement.

The banks behind Vipps will own 65% of the new parent company, Vipps AS, which will be headquartered in Oslo. Danske Bank will own 25% and the OP Financial Group will own 10%.

Kjerstin Braathen, the head of top Norwegian bank DNB, will become chairperson.

As part of the process of merging the three Nordic companies, Norway’s Vipps will de-merge from financial technology providers BankID and BankAxept.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Stine Jacobsen and Terje Solsvik, editing by Louise Heavens and Barbara Lewis