Easier for expats: Danish digital bank opens to non-citizens

Expat life is full of challenges and those living in Denmark often struggle with the language and the weather. You are also required to get a Danish bank account – which can prove more challenging than it sounds.

Easier for expats: Danish digital bank opens to non-citizens
Photo: Lunar

Many Danish banks charge for accounts, debit cards, transfers and more, which can make it difficult for expats to understand and compare the fees.

Now Lunar, a digital bank, is open for the first time to EU citizens living, working and studying in Denmark. You can get a free account and card, as well as doing all your banking in one free app – in English.

Easy onboarding

Setting up a bank account can sometimes feel more difficult than you would expect in today’s digital world. Denmark’s strict recent ‘nedlukning’ (lockdown) has made it even trickier to get many things done.  

Download and try out Lunar's app today – all you need is a Danish mobile number

Digital banking is designed to make life easier – now and in the future. To get a Lunar account, you can apply directly on your mobile without the inconvenience of having to go to a branch.

If you're over 18, an EU citizen (still including British passport holders in 2020) and have a Danish personal registration number and NemID, you can apply. You’ll get a Visa card without annual fees and join 150,000 people who already hold Lunar bank accounts.

If you’re new to Denmark and just learned you need a NemKonto (an account that public authorities can transfer benefits, tax refunds, pensions and so on into), you can relax. You can simply choose in the Lunar app to make your new account your NemKonto.

Photo: Lunar

Track spending – and saving

To keep track of personal finances, it helps to break things down into categories. In the Lunar app, you can just tap ‘Spend’ to see your outgoings divided into groceries, entertainment, personal care and more.

Keep track of all your spending and saving goals by signing up with Lunar

Find it hard to resist compulsive purchases? You can also set category spending limits, for example, a maximum of DKK 2,000 per month on food and drinks.

Choosing to get instant notifications for each purchase can make it even easier to ensure you know how much of your monthly limits you have remaining. You can also pay a bill just by taking a photo.

Digital tracking in real-time can help you control what you spend – and therefore also help you to focus on savings. Whether you are putting money away for gifts, travel or a rainy day, Lunar’s personalised Goals feature allows you to set your own targets and savings rules.

Special features

Virtual cards – which only exist digitally – are a new way of reducing the risk of fraud. They use dynamic security codes that are updated hourly and can be easily deleted whenever you want.

Get a virtual card and much more for free with Lunar's English language app

All Lunar users get a virtual card in the app for free. If you upgrade to Lunar Premium, you can get up to five virtual cards. Other Premium benefits include three bank accounts to help manage your personal finances, as well as worldwide travel and luggage insurance.

Lunar’s other standard features include Benefits, which rewards users with treats, perks and deals from brands covering everything from transport to kitchen equipment. Lunar is also looking to partner with start-ups needing support during the coronavirus pandemic to offer new rewards.

You may have an eye on the future and want a bank that can help you make and manage investments. With Lunar Invest, you can buy and sell stocks with clear fees and no minimum expenditure.


Swedish inquiry calls for state-run digital ID and low-risk bank accounts

A Swedish government inquiry into the payment system has called for the state to launch its own digital ID and a new type of basic, low-risk bank account to help the estimated 1m people with no, or limited, access to digital payments.

Swedish inquiry calls for state-run digital ID and low-risk bank accounts

“Too many people are stuck outside the digital system,” Anna Kinberg Batra, the former Moderate Party leader who led the inquiry said as she delivered the conclusions of her more than two-year inquiry on Friday. “Privately-run banks own central parts of the system and the government needs to get more involved.” 

In the report, it notes that Sweden is one of only four EU states, alongside Cyprus, Greece, and Romania, which lacks a state-issued digital ID. 

Currently, BankID, which is issued by the major banks, dominates the e-ID landscape in Sweden, and even the main alternative, Freja e-ID, is owned by a private company.

The report calls on the government to either task a government agency to develop and run its own digital ID system, or to put out a tender for one which would be run by a private provider, but which meets government guarantees and requirements. 

The new digital ID system, it said, it should make it possible for foreigners currently excluded from BankID, such as refugees, foreign students, and people working on short-term contracts, to identify themselves and use digital payment systems. 

“For a state-run e-identification system to be able to provide an effective tool for financial inclusion it is important that there are no unnecessary obstacles for asylum seekers, foreign students, and guest workers, among others, to obtain a state-run e-identification.”

The report also calls for action to prevent foreigners living in Sweden from being deprived of their bank accounts or prevented from getting them in the first place because of regulations put in place to prevent money laundering and terror financing. 

It suggests pressuring banks in Sweden to offer so-called “low-risk accounts” with limited functions (such as, for example, limits on international payments).

“More people must be given access to bank accounts, through for example more effective surveillance and through banks using the possibilities in legislation to offer accounts with more limited functions (low risk accounts),” the report reads. 

As well as access to digital payment services, the inquiry also looked at whether it was important for Sweden to continue to use physical cash and coins. 

It concluded that it was important to continue to keep cash as part of the payments system, as otherwise Sweden would be vulnerable in a severe crisis or military attack. 

The report also calls for government agencies and pharmacies and shops selling goods deemed essential to life, to be required under law to accept cash payments. 

Finally, the report concludes that there is no need at present for the Riksbank to issue a so-called “digital krona”, a state-backed digital coin similar to Bitcoin, but it encouraged the central bank to continue monitoring the situation. 

“The Riksbank should continue to consider the issue,” Kinberg Batra told TT. “We have a high confidence in our digital payments, a krona is worth a krona and we have a guarantee on bank deposits for if anything happens to the banks, and banks are also heavily supervised under a rigorous regulatory framework.”