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Sweden Country Report

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  • Published Date: September 2021

A complete analysis of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Sweden, with clear-sighted commentary supported by recent data.
Digital payments have increased as cash usage has waned over the last half-decade. Domestic mobile payments scheme Swish has been a runaway success, driving ubiquitous acceptance for P2P, online and QR payments.
As elsewhere in the Nordic region, digital challengers – Bank Norwegian and Klarna to name but two – are competing for custom with established banks, though new entrants will need to pay close attention to cultural expectations here as well as Swedes' particular approach to credit and payments.

What you will learn from this Sweden cards market report:

The effect of Swish on payment cards usage.
How traditions have paved the way for innovation.
What pandemic meant for card-present/CNP payments.
Which types of cards do Swedes favour, and why.

SWEDEN CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORT | KEY FACTS

  • With the speed of change only accelerated by the pandemic, Sweden remains at the cashless vanguard.
  • From January 2021, a minimum level of cash-handling service by the largest banks is guaranteed by law.
  • In 2020, the coronavirus crisis caused the largest GDP contraction since the global recession over a decade earlier. The European Commission forecasts growth for 2021.
  • Between 2014 and 2020, the value of electronic consumer payments grew by eleven percent, reaching 91 percent of consumer payments' total.
  • Cards are the preferred payment method in Sweden, accounting for 47 percent of the value of consumer payments. Swedes made an average of 397 card payments in 2020, one of the highest rates globally.
  • Retail banking, consumer finance and payments are largely controlled by four banks.
  • The popularity of local mobile-payments scheme Swish during the pandemic has probably inhibited card purchase volume.
  • The e-invoice is a popular form of payment in Swedish B2C e-commerce, with transaction volume as high as cards in 2021.
  • Sweden's four big banks are collaborating with two other Nordic firms to create a pan-Nordic payments infrastructure. The project, P27, is expected to be operational in 2022.
  • Almost three in every four general-purpose payment cards issued here carry the Mastercard brand.
  • This acquiring market is dominated by Swedbank Pay, Nets, Handelsbanken and Bambora

Sweden Payments Research | Report Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Appendices: Sweden Payments Data Tables

Appendix I: Demographic and economic indicators

Data table 1: Demographic and economic indicators: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 2: Ownership of key consumer devices: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 3: Internet usage by population: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.

Appendix II: Payments environment

Data table 4: Access points: 2015-2020. Estimates to 2022.
Data table 5: Account penetration: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 6: Consumer payment: trends 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 7: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.

Appendix III: Cards market

Data table 8: Total cards payment metrics: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 9: Contactless cards metrics: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 10: Credit card numbers: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 11: Total credit cards metrics: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 12: Credit cards profitability indicators: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 13: Debit cards numbers: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 14: Debit cards metrics: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.

Appendix IV: Mobile payments

Data table 15: Mobile proximity payment metrics: 2017-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 16: Mobile P2P payments: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.

Appendix V: Profit pool

Data table 17: Sweden market profit pool: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2024 including credit card numbers, billed volumes, outstandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).

Appendix VI: Card networks

Data table 18: Networks' credit card market shares: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 19: Networks' credit card data numbers: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 20: Networks' credit card billed volume: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 21: Networks' number of credit card transactions: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 22: Networks' average credit card transaction value: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 23: Credit card interchange fees by network: 2015-20. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 24: Networks' debit card market shares: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 25: Networks' debit card data numbers: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 26: Networks' debit card billed volume: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 27: Networks' number of debit card transactions: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 28: Networks' average debit card transaction value: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 29: Debit card interchange fees by network: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

Data table 30: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2017-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 31: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2017-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.
Data table 32: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2017-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2022.

Appendix VIII: Acquirers and processing

Data table 33: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: Estimates for 2021.
Data table 34: Credit card merchant service charges: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 35: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: Estimates for 2021.
Data table 36: Debit card merchant service charges: 2015-2020. Estimates and forecasts to 2024.
Data table 37: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
Data table 38: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
Data table 39: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: Estimates for 2021.
Data table 40: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: Estimates for 2021.

Appendix IX: Online acquiring

Data table 41: Online merchant acquirer market share. Estimates for 2021.

Sweden Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
Sweden is an export-orientated country with a skilled workforce and a strong engineering sector. During the 2020 crisis, the resilience of its economy, supported by extensive economic policy measures, mitigated the impact of lower international demand to produce a relatively mild drop in GDP growth of 2.8%.

Payments Environment
In recent times, this payments ecosystem has evolved at a rapid pace: the value of electronic means of consumer payment, such as bank cards and mobile methods, has increased its share to 91% in 2020, up from 61% in 2010.

Cards Market
Paying with card is the most common payment method in Sweden because of its strong consumer penetration and merchant acceptance. A survey conducted by the central bank in Spring 2020 found that 87% of Swedes used a payment card for their most recent purchase.

Mobile Payments
Sweden is one of the few Western economies where mobile payments have become widespread. This is largely due to the runaway success of Swish, which dominates the landscape.

Profit Pool
Credit cards are not a key revenue generator for Swedish banks. Nonetheless, Verisk Financial Research's profit pool analysis shows stable profitability over the years with an average profit per card of $59 between 2015 and 2019. In 2020, profit per card tumbled by 22% to $49 due to Covid-19.

Card Networks
In 2021, Mastercard is expected to reach a market share of 74% of payment cards in issue, followed by Visa with a market share of 25%. At the end of 2021, about 71% of the debit cards in issue in Sweden will be Mastercard branded.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
SEB, Handelsbanken, Swedbank and Nordea dominate the Swedish banking system and accounted for 73% of banking loans in 2020. In terms of branch networks, Handelsbanken is the leader with 376 branches, followed by Swedbank with 159.

Acquiring and Processing
Swedbank Pay is the largest acquirer in the Swedish market, acquiring around 60% of card transactions. Nets, Handelsbanken and Bambora are its main competitors. The acquiring processing market in Sweden is highly concentrated. Whereas Swedbank Pay carries out its processing in house, other major acquirers have opted to outsource their processing to international companies such as TietoEVRY and Nets.

Online Acquiring
Sweden is the largest e-commerce market in the Nordics. Online pharmacy Apotea is the largest online retailer, followed by NetOnNet (electronics) and Elgiganten (home appliances).

Regulatory and Markets Information
As of 2020, there are 121 banks are operating in Sweden, including 45 savings banks, 42 commercial banks, two cooperative banks and 32 foreign banks.

Swedish Payments Report | Entities Referenced

Alipay
Allkort
American Express
Apotea
Apotek Hjärtat
Apple Pay
Babs Paylink
Bambora
Bank Norwegian
BankID
Barclaycard
Bits
Bloomberg
Bynk
CEKAB
Christiania Bank
Coop
Copenhagen Business School
Danske
DIBS
Diners Club
Discover
DK Online
DNB
EC Europa
ECB
Ecommerce Europe
Ecster
EDB
Elektronisk Data Behandling
Elgiganten
EnterCard
ePay
ErgoGroup
Eurocard
Euroline
Europay Sweden
European Central Bank
European Commission
Eurostat
EVRY
Finansiell ID-Teknik BID
Finansinspektionen
Google Pay
Hakon Invest
Handelsbanken
ICA
ICA Banken
Ikano Bank
IkanoFinans
IKEA
IMF
Ingenico
InköpsCentralernas Aktiebolag
International Monetary Fund
International Telecommunication Union
ITU
iZettle
JCB
Key Corp
Klarna
Klarna Checkout
Konsumentverket
Köpkort
Länsförsäkringar
LO Mervärde
Maestro
Majority
Marginalen Bank
Mastercard
MedMera Bank
Merita
Mobile BankID
MobilePay
MPS
NetOnNet
Nets
Nexi
Nordbanken
Nordea
Nordic Capital
Norwegian Ministry of Finance
Oktogonen
OM Contactless Forum
P27
PAN-Nordic Card Association
PayEx
PayPal
PB Banken
PNC
Preem
PTS
PULSE
Rebtel
Resurs Bank
Riksbank
Rocker
Royal Institute of Technology
Safello
Samport
Samsung Pay
Santander Consumer Bank
SAS
Savings Banks
SCB
SEB Kort
SEB
Shell
Skandiabanken
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken
SL
Solid Försäkring
Spaarkasse
Sparbankskort
Sparebank 1
Statistics Sweden
Stockholm Public Transport
Sveriges Riksbank
Swedbank
Swedbank Pay
Swedish Bankers' Association
Swedish Golf Association
Swedish Post and Telecom Agency
Swish
Swish Handel
Teller
Tieto
TietoEVRY
Tink
Unibank
UnionPay
Verifone
Visa Norge
Visa
Wallenberg Group
World Bank
Worldline
Zettle
Zwipe

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Verisk financial reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in Europe. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and finance experts.

See more European country reports or explore cards & payments research reports for markets worldwide or view our latest reports.

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