Hi Bjørn! Can you tell us a little about your background and why you chose to work with Neonomics as Country Manager for Denmark?

Absolutely. I come from an extensive background in sales and business development, working with people, service, customer success, and management in multiple sectors ranging from startup to Enterprise. This provided me with a wide business understanding and the ability to solve the pain-points for our customers. As Country Manager for Neonomics in Denmark, I see Neonomics as a pioneer in the industry with a clear goal to change the way we think about financial data. I joined Neonomics with a strong desire to be part of this change alongside these brilliant minds, and to help contribute towards a frictionless future for all.

Understood, so on the Danish side of things, then: what would you say is an important industry issue in Denmark that has caught your eye over the past months?

No doubt, there are numerus industries that will benefit enormously from the new capabilities in PSD2 and open banking. However, one major industry issue now — and has been for decades — lies within automated payments. Particularly in Denmark, we see a monopoly on a product named “Betalingsservice”. This product facilitates automated payments from consumer bank accounts to other companies. All in all, this is a positive thing, but as with many aspects of banking services pre-PSD2: there has been a distinct lack of competition. Betalingservice currently is the only available alternative, and this monopoly allows for the charging of artificially high prices: fees that the consumer themselves end up paying, ranging an extortionate 4 to 5 DKK (0.65 EUR) per transaction. This should in fact cost a fraction of this!

A substantial issue then! Who are the companies most affected by this and why?

As I previously mentioned, this is a sustained issue; many different parties over the years have signaled their dissatisfaction hoping to provoke the regulatory entities into making competition possible. Most recently in the media it has been the NGO’s turn speak up. Fortunately, this did earn selected NGO’s a discount for the service — but still, they continue to pay the current minimum of 4 DKK per donation. The sad result, is that a substantial portion of the money well-meaning citizens are donating to the important causes supported by the NGOs ends up in the profit line of the companies providing these automatic payment services.

Not good…what regulations are there in PSD2 already to help resolve this for NGOs and similar companies?

The implementation of PSD2 is the first step towards better supporting competition in the finance sector and within payments. This allows for new players to integrate direct payment capabilities into their own solutions and potentially bypassing card schemes, Betalingsservice, amongst others. It also provides the most streamlined technology and is thereby the cheapest solution for all. Naturally, PSD2 is still novel, and has a great deal of room to mature to allow for the same frictionless experience currently provided by these services. SCA is the new norm, but is something consumers are still getting to grips with. Even playgrounds in the field would be a necessity going forward.

Are there any other initiatives currently looking to solve this?

We are seeing both in Denmark, pan-Nordic and pan-European initiatives that aim to solve some of these issues. P27 is a pan Nordic establishment pushing the agenda to allow for new players to enter the market of automated payments.

Ok Bjørn, then it sounds promising! Finally: how does Neonomics see the future for automated payments?

At Neonomics we are endeavouring to build the infrastructure for future payments; allowing any TPP (third party provider) to access the very same infrastructure that the banks are currently using today. The goal for us, is that the work we do at Neonomics will change the way we think about financial data and payments and create an even playing field to support the development of healthy competition — and most importantly progress — in the financial industry.