Coop Denmark, one of the country's largest supermarket groups, has come a step closer to launching the first competitor to Denmark's national debit card, the Dankort, reported public service broadcaster DR Tuesday.

EnterCard, the Norwegian company that will issue Coop's payment card, announced yesterday that it had entered into a five-year agreement with Payment Business Service (PBS), the organisation that administers the debit card network. The agreement will allow the company's cards to function in Denmark.

Converting the co-operative's 1.6 million membership cards into debit cards will mean significant competition for the Dankort, which is operated by the banking industry.

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