In Europe, and especially in Denmark, finding credit cards with any kind of discount or points is rare. The Visa card from Ikano Bank is by far the best credit card I have found giving up to 5000 DKK (~670 EUR) per year without any fees if you do it right!
How it works
The way it works is that you pay the full price when using the card and when the time comes to pay the credit card bill they will subtract the discount - also known as cashback1. The discounts are
- A flat 5% all year on Cafés and Restaurants
- A monthly discount that is known in advance for the whole year. Examples for 2019 are
- March: 25% on opticians
- July: 10% on flight tickets
- August: 25% in bookstores
- December: 15% in toy stores
This discount works both online and in physical stores. It works both in Denmark and internationally.
- The discount is limited to 1000 DKK per month and 5000 DKK per year. You will quickly run into this limit when paying for a family dinner, paying for flight tickets, shopping at IKEA or buying new glasses.
- The card does not have wireless NFC so you need to type in your PIN code every time in a store.
- Their homepage need a reboot - it looks old and needs NemID login. Most other cards I use has a nice app for that.
- The card does not give discounts on everything like the Norwegian credit card.
What to look out for
When applying for the card choose to pay with iBOX which is a fancy way of saying that you will receive a mail with payment information. Below is an excerpt from one of my iBOX mail in Danish with the payment ID I use to pay with:
Dit BetalingsID er +71< 050503731479019+85867829<. Du kan betale via din netbank på samme måde, som du normalt betaler regninger. Denne måneds ydelse er 1.843,45 kr. og seneste betalingsdato er 01-02-2019.
Otherwise you pay a monthly fee of 25 - 35 DKK.
- Always pay the full amount each month and pay on time - actually using the credit part of a credit card is expensive and negates all the benefits of using this card.
- When using the card abroad or in a foreign currency you pay 1 - 1,5% fee in addition to Visas own exchange fee. This fee can be eliminated as I explain later.
- When withdrawing cash there is a 2% fee, minimum 60 DKK. This fee can be eliminated as I explain later and there are plenty of other cards that have free withdrawals.
How I am using the card
I use this card for the discounts and as an actual credit card on large purchases. In the past 6 months I have gotten 3500 DKK back from Ikano Bank. My top 3 cashbacks has been:
- Buying new glasses (25% discount) = 986 DKK cashback
- Paying for a family dinner (5% discount) = 950 DKK cashback
- Buying a new wardrobe from IKEA (10% discount) = 550 DKK
The rest is mostly coffee and food. Examples from my purchases (“Rabat” meaning discount in Danish):
|01-03-2019||WOLT ENTERPRISES OY HELSINKI||274,00|
|01-03-2019||SYNOPTIK S112 KOEBENHAVN S||4.496,00|
|28-02-2019||ESPRESSO HOUSE APP DK KOEBENHAVN K||300,00|
|28-02-2019||FAZER FOOD ASCO MOEDESTED KOEBENHAVN S||40,00|
It can be tricky to figure out which store gives which discount so I have done a bit of trial and error. If in doubt you can ask Ikano Bank on their Facebook page, but mostly I do a look-up on the stores Merchant Category Code (MCC)2. In Denmark that means doing a lookup on Virk.dk and looking for the “Branchekode”. To give you an idea which discount I have gotten I have listed some results here:
|Ikano bank group||Store||Discount?||Comment|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Espresso House||Yes||Combine this with the Espresso House app for a nice ~20% extra discount|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Starbucks||Yes|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Just-eat.dk||Yes|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Wolt.com||Yes|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Holms bakery||No||Bakery, not café|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Meyers bakery||No||Bakery, not café|
|Cafés and Restaurants||KFC||Yes|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Hav (Torvehallerne)||No|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Le Gourmand||No||Grocery type store, not a café|
|Cafés and Restaurants||Foreign restaurant and cafés||Yes||I have gotten a discount from all restaurant and cafés in my travels to Russia and Poland|
|Airlines and hotels||Hotels.com||No||This goes under the “Travel agency” discount category|
|Airlines and hotels||Norwegian.com||Yes|
|Airlines and hotels||Airbnb.dk||Yes|
|Home decor stores||IKEA||Yes|
I never use the card directly anymore, but through Mobile Pay3 or using another card called Curve. The Curve card is a card that uses other cards by selecting them from an app. The Curve card has NFC4 so one just have to remember to select the Ikano Bank before using the Curve card and voila! I have a physical card with NFC that uses Ikano Bank as the underlying card. Even if I use a wrong underlying card, Curve has a time travel function to charge the correct card within two weeks of the original purchase.
It is possible to combine an in-store discount and a monthly discount even if the months differ! I have tried to purchase something in January where there was an in-store discount, then wait 3 weeks to pickup the purchase so I was in February that did have a discount from Ikano Bank. The store refunded my purchase on my original card and I did a repurchase on my Ikano Bank card for the additional discount. Using Curves time travel function should yield similar results if you do it within 2 weeks and below £1000.
When purchasing stuff in another currency I avoid the exchange fees by using the Curve card again which exchanges at interbank rates without any markup on weekdays.
I never use this card to withdraw money since it is cheaper and better to use cards like Revolut, N26, Curve for a zero total fee to withdraw money. Notice that it is possible to withdraw money from Ikano Bank without any fees using a Curve card, but since you do not get any discount it does not make any sense.
A small amount paid to a customer by the credit / debit card company for each use of a card. ↩
A Merchant Category Code (MCC) is a four-digit number for retail financial services. MCC is used to classify the business by the type of goods or services it provides. MCCs are assigned by merchant type (e.g. one for hotels, one for office supply stores, etc.) or by merchant name (e.g. 3000 for United Airlines). ↩
MobilePay is a mobile payment application developed by Danske Bank. The service allows payments by means of a smartphone application and was published on May 7, 2013, after Danske Bank discontinued its cooperation with other Danish banks on a common solution. It is mainly used in Denmark, but also in Finland. ↩
Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm of each other. NFC devices are used in contactless payment systems, similar to those used in credit cards and electronic ticket smartcards and allow mobile payment to replace or supplement these systems. ↩