Swedish card payment market is consolidating, preparing for Apple Pay and other coming players?

Norway and Denmark has the most efficient payment eco-systems in the world. Sweden is trying to catch up and we see and will see an interesting play here and on the neighbour markets in the Nordics.

If you ask the banks in Norway they are doing their moves to position against players like Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft(!). Signs of this is the consolidation of mobile payment in Norway (eg. Vipps) and resource investments in the Norwegian domestic payment scheme BankAxept.

Below is a summary of recent moves in Sweden and interesting questions “piling up”.

Recent moves in Sweden

  • Apple Pay recently say they will come to Sweden, Denmark and Finland (but not Norway?) before end of this year
  • Ingenico buys Bambora (acquirer & PSP, payment service provider)
  • Swedbank buys PayEx (PSP)
  • Klarna, the largest online invoice payment method in Northern Europe, gets a Swedish bank licence and change name to Klarna Bank
  • Visa makes a strategic investment in Klarna
  • Samsung Pay launched in Sweden (rumours say they will come to Norway in November)
  • Swish, the very successful Swedish mobile payment method (5M+ users swishing 8B+ SEK every month) is going into online and instore merchants
  • Players like Elavon and AltaPay is building merchant business

Earlier moves in Sweden

  • Bambora buys SEB’s acquiring and Samport (PSP)
  • Nets buys Nordea’s acquiring and PSP’s PayZone, DIBS (large online PSP) and Teller (acquiring & PSP)

Interesting questions piling up

  • Nets is Ingenico’s largest PSP in Sweden but also vendor to Bambora (and PayEx), what will happen now when Ingenico buys Bambora and would they recommend them before Nets?
  • Swedbank owns half of Sweden’s largest PSP Paylink (Verifone owns rest), what will happen with Paylink & PayEx, before competitors now in same nest? PayEx to recommend Verifone over Ingenico?
  • It`s said that 100k payment terminals in Sweden (1/3 of installed base) needs to be exchanged before year end (PCIDSS security reasons), these will of course be NFC enabled, yet another reason for Apple Pay to go Sweden?
  • Sweden, Denmark and Norway has the highest iPhone market shares in the world (50%+), another reason for Apple Pay to go Sweden and Denmark? But why not Norway, maybe the banks there “prefer” the Vipps track?
  • And, what will happen with Handelsbanken, the last and “alone” acquiring bank in Sweden? Will Handelsbanken sell their acquiring like SEB and Nordea have already done and if so, to whom and when?


Finally, which bank/s in Sweden will be the first to join the Apple Pay wagon? A challenger bank or one or more of the “big four”? My bet is on Swedbank (one “big four”), trying to be a little aggressive in the market and soon having the control and largest share of NFC enabled payment terminals in Sweden.

Soon we will see.

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