Check, Cash or Charge

You still hear it at checkouts across the United States: “How will you be paying today? Check, cash or charge?”

You will never hear this question in Denmark.

For one, there are no checks in Denmark. There may have been at one time, in some distant past (actually, checks were officially discontinued on January 1, 2016), when checks were a thing, but no one remembers them now. It’s not an option to pay with a check for anything. Banks don’t issue checks.

Cash is slowly fading from circulation as well. There are quite a few places in Denmark now that do NOT accept cash. Truly, your (paper) money is no good here.

My favorite rejected form of payment, however, is credit. When we first moved to Denmark, and we still didn’t have a Danish bank account, I was forced to use either paper money that I got out of an ATM, or I tried using a credit card. It came as a shock to me that many places would not accept credit cards. Now that we have a Danish bank account, I never use them. And it seems like very few people do. I mean, they must, but from casual observation, I rarely see anyone using credit.

Since moving to Denmark I have not seen a credit card commercial, I have never received an offer for a credit card in the mail and I have never been asked, in any retail store, if I wanted to sign up for a credit card. For this reason alone I am never going back to the US. I don’t spend money I don’t have and no one ever pressures me to spend money I don’t have.

Forms of payment accepted in Denmark are:

Debit

The most common way to pay in Denmark is by using your national debit card: Dankort. For larger purchases, you’ll put in your PIN number. For smaller purchases (200 kr – roughly $30 – or less), you just need to wave your debit card at the machine and off you go.

MobilePay

Everyone with a smartphone seems to have MobilePay in Denmark. And since everyone seems to have a smartphone, everyone uses MobilePay. This is how I pay my kids’ allowance and this is how I pay my friends when we go out to dinner and need to split the bill. It’s super convenient and I’ve come across shops (especially pop-up shops) that ONLY accept MobilePay.

But if you’re visiting Denmark, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll be fine using credit or cash at most places in the touristy spots or pretty much anywhere in the city center. It’s only when you live here that you begin to notice how these two most common forms of payment in the United States are not really a thing here.

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