Auka Founder: Apple Pay Will Have a Rough Time in Norway’s Mobile Payments Market

June 25, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Is it a bridge too far to say that Daniel Doderlein, founder of Norway’s first mobile wallet system Auka, has gone a-viking against Apple Pay? That may be more a matter of personal interpretation, but he recently dropped some word our way about Apple Pay’s arrival in Norway, and why it’s likely to have a much tougher time than it expects.

Doderlein offered up quite a bit of commentary on the arrival, noting that, even in Apple Pay’s home market of the US, it’s taking a lot of hits from competitors like the Starbucks app. Doderlein points out that Starbucks’ app has more traction and more use than every major mobile payments app around.

He then relates that odd-but-true fact to Norway’s conditions, noting that there are problems in the market—setting up pre-orders, bypassing lines and so on—but Apple Pay isn’t going to do anything to address those issues. Worse, Apple’s walking into an environment that’s already pretty hotly contested; two of Apple Pay’s partner banks, Sbanken and Nordea, are already members of the Vipps solution that’s already in play, and that’s going to split a lot of its focus.

Essentially, customers would have to switch banks to try Apple Pay, Doderlein notes, and that’s not likely. Apple’s chances of finding further partnerships are also remote at best, since Apple isn’t providing much in the way of clear advantage, and ends up being more of a potential loss-leader if anything.

Salient points, but Doderlein may have underestimated the impact of the Apple walled garden. Apple users tend to be very much in favor of Apple, and at least some of those users may jump ship from a current provider or even a bank to get in on the Apple-branded solution of choice. Not many, that’s a safe bet, but since Apple Pay has been expanding worldwide, it doesn’t need to be a big hit anywhere since it’s kind of a small hit just about everywhere.

Apple Pay has a presence most everywhere, and that’s all it really needs. The Apple Pay business is just a value-added feature for those already using Apple, a supplement to Apple’s hardware and app sales. It won’t be big in Norway, but every new user is a new user.