Minister backs VisaDankort in the face of Jyske Bank threat

Consumers may end up having to pay higher bank charges if the VisaDankort system disappears

One of Denmark’s major banks, Jyske Bank, has announced it has decided to stop offering its customers the combined VisaDankort.

The bank has said it intends to separate the two cards in order to allow more competition in the area, reports Jyllands-Posten’s digital platform Finans.

Under attack
The Dankort debit card system was introduced at the beginning of the 1980s under PBS in order to reduce the amount of cash in circulation, as well as providing savings for banks and society in general. It also differed from other cards in being largely free of bank charges.

Consumer watchdog Tænk is concerned, seeing it as a covert attack on the card. They are worried that when the Dankort part is split from the Visa, there won’t be much interest in a card that only works in Denmark.

Tænk’s fears are shared by the Danish chamber of commerce, Dansk Erhverv. “We hope that this does not spread to other banks, but we are afraid it might and that Jyske Bank’s action is actually part of a concerted strategy from the banks’ side,” said the organisation’s marketing director, Henrik Hyltoft.

“Dankort is still the cheapest system for the retail trade and also for consumers,” added Hyltoft.

Keeping consumer costs down
The business minister, Rasmus Jarlov, has now entered the fray, reports Politiken. Commenting on Twitter the minister said that “Dankort saves Danish shops large sums of money and in that way keeps prices down a little in Denmark.”

The nub of the matter seems to be that Dankort is strictly regulated politically when it comes to the amount that banks can charge for it, whilst the regulations are considerably less strict on cards such as Visa and MasterCard.

Jyske Bank, however, denies it is acting in order to earn more money through bank charges.

“I can guarantee 100 percent that this is not being done for economic reasons. The cards have different capabilities, so we think it makes sense,” said Peter Schleidt, the bank’s CEO.