10 apps that make life in Copenhagen easier
First off, I want to apologize for the long absence – it seems that I’m doomed to catch the flu at least once every fall and once in late winter/ early spring. And last week, I caught a very resilient type of flu; I was completely down and out for five days. Not fun! But enough whining, now on to today’s post!
Hi, my name is Laura and I’m a smartphone addict.
It’s true, though – if I lost my phone, forgot it at home, of was otherwise separated from it for more than a couple of hours, I’d be pretty much lost. My phone is my guide (maps, bus schedules, Yelp), my entertainment (news, games), my connection to my family and friends (Facebook, WhatsApp). I’d be bored and cut off from the world – apart from actually talking to other humans face-to-face, obviously.
I’m not going to dive into what this might be telling us about all the things that are wrong with society (or me). Instead, I’m going to share my favorite apps that make my life in Copenhagen (and Denmark) easier every day.
And there are many of them. Ever since I moved here, I’ve been really positively surprised by the quality of apps for everyday life. Most companies, and even most public institutions, have apps that are user-friendly, smart, and just work (for the most part). Here are my favorites.
When you move to Denmark, you get a CPR number, which is used to identify you towards the public sector, e.g. for tax and healthcare purposes. You can opt to receive all your correspondence electronically, and sign up for e-Boks, a secured messaging system that your bank, doctor, and the SKAT authorities can use to send you important documents. The app allows you to view your messages on the go, using your NemID login.
One of my favorite apps. In Denmark, people practically never carry cash, so if you owe someone a small amount of money, you can just pay them back using the app. It connects to your credit card and allows you to transfer up to DKK 1,500 instantaneously. You can also request payments, and even split checks. MobilePay is Danske Bank’s app, but works with all other banks, too. An alternative is Swipp, which has been launched by a group of other banks, including for example Nordea. MobilePay is also super practical for small stores or food trucks!
Most banks have apps for private banking. Personally, I use Danske Bank’s and Nordea’s apps, which are both very user-friendly and allow you to do basic banking, like checking your account balances or transferring money, on the go. Of course, there are some restrictions, for example making transfers to another country or setting up standing transfers.
I’ve mentioned Rejseplanen before in my first post about apps (see here). It has become indispensable for me when I’m out and about. You can check the best way to get from A to B, see bus, train, and metro schedules, and see how much a trip will cost you. My favorite is the “take me home” function that uses your location to tell you how to get home.
If you’ve lived in Denmark before the summer of 2015, you’ll remember the colorful paper “klippekort” – multi-ride tickets that you’d stamp on the bus or train. Unfortunately, DSB and Movia have discontinued the klippekort – which totally sucks for tourists! – but you can get the same functionality with this app. If you only use public transportation sporadically, this is the app for you.
If you’re a frequent user of public transportation, you’ll want to consider getting your monthly card on your phone. It costs the same as the paper version, but I was happy to get rid of that ugly photo I had on there! You can set the app to auto-renew your ticket every month, although some users have reported problems with that functionality.
If you live in Copenhagen and have a car, get this app! You register your car’s license plate and enter the area code for the parking space – they are four-digit codes that are clearly stated on the ticket machines. What I like about the app is that it’s exact to the minute: you can stop the app when you’ve returned and only pay for the time you’ve actually parked, and you can extend your parking if you run late. No more tickets!
Another one for car owners and frequent drivers. The official app of the traffic control institution tells you where there are traffic jams, construction, or other obstacles, so you can navigate around them.
Den Blå Avis (the blue newspaper) is Denmark’s eBay classifieds – I’ve frequently used the app to buy and sell used stuff from clothes and shoes to our old PlayStation. It’s easy to search and browse listings, and to create and manage your own articles. If one of your posts runs out of time, you can reactivate it within seconds.
If you need great tips for where to eat, grab a beer after work, or get your hair cut, Yelp is there to guide you through Copenhagen. It has a great maps function and – my favorite part – you can even search using emojis! Just tap the burger emoji to see a list of all burger places in your area. How cool is that?
Do you use any of these apps? What are your indispensibles? Share in the comments below!