Alipay – it’s not about payment 

At a conference in Stockholm last week I got interesting info and a deeper view on Alipay. The Alipay UK representative did tell an amazing story, here are a few points.

  • Alipay is not a payment method nor a wallet, it’s a “super life style app”. It includes all needs in a Chinese persons daily life.
  • It’s for Chinese people only and has 520 million users.
  • 70% of all payment transactions in-store in China is via mobile, amazing!
  • One reason is that China seems to have “jumped” plastic cards and use virtual payment cards instead.
  • Alipay wants to follow the, today 120 million and quickly growing, Chinese abroad travellers. Hereby Alipay is and will be used in more and more, by Chinese tourists popular city’s, around the world. Last week pilot shops was launched in Stockholm, the first city in the Nordics to accept Alipay as payment in-store.
  • Interesting info is that a “good” Alipay user will automatically get an extra  €350 credit on their Alipay account when going abroad and to be used abroad.

So, Chinese tourists are, want and will use the Alipay app for also everything when they travel. So if you not in with your attraction, shop, offers and discounts you will probably not get much of their attention or spending.

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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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Visa invests in Klarna Bank

Visa to buy a stake in Swedish payment company Klarna Bank for an undisclosed sum. This is probably part of the new emission of 500 MSEK that was needed to finance the buying of German Billpay for 650 MSEK earlier this year. Visa has recently invested in iZettle competitor Square, Stripe and LoopPay.

Klarna received a banking license on June 19 and will now start offer banking products, where first two will be cards payments (I bet now with a Visa logo on) and saving accounts.

Klarna was from start a challenger to card payments and this move seems to be a change in strategy. Could also be that paying Klarna debts via a card account is a better alternative for some markets, though US & UK consumers for example “are not as good” as consumers in Nordics and Germany in paying invoice bills.

Read more here.

Klarna new logo

Picture: Klarna Bank new logo?

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1 – 0 Apple Pay vs Australian banks

Apple won the “battle” against the Australian banks trying to get use of the Apple NFC for use in their own wallets. The now disappointed banks says that they now individually will seek how to work with mobile payments & mobile wallet.

Read more here.

My guess is that the banks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank now will launch Samsung Pay and Android Pay when avaiable in Australia. They will probably also look into using BLE and/or QR if they want eventual own wallets to support iPhones…or just launch their own alternatives on Android for start.

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57 new banks in 7 years (UK only) – nothing wrong?

Interesting post from the Chris Skinner’s blog. Read full post here.

First new bank in UK in decades opened 7 years ago, Metro Bank. Now 57 (!) new are in process having or trying to get a banking licence. This post discuss positives and negatives and what hurdles besides financing and staffing these challenging banks are in to.

Biggest challenge I think is trust and in the long run, the game of gain and keep of customers. These new “digital only banks” will also meet fierce competition when all traditional is going more and more digital and they are (often) well financed and they have customers.

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Rumors pre MWC 2017

Next week it’s time again for the world’s largest mobile fair, Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. Over 100,000 visitors a will walk around in the eight halls, where over 2000 exhibitors will  present their products and services. “Hot” this year in addition to the traditional releases of new mobiles, are IoT (Internet of Things), AI & VR (Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality) and robotics.

Below is a summary of rumors and releases of new mobile phones “pre-show”:

  • Apple and as usual, will not exhibit or launch. We will have to wait for the iPhone 8, expected to have a “radical” redesign, until after the summer. Before that we will probably see a 7S launch.
  • Samsung will launch multiple products including a new tablet and products around VR. Samsung Galaxy 8 will probably come out in April.
  • Huawei. New P10 will be launched and will be the “star of the show”?
  • LG. Launch of G6.
  • HTC. HTC 11 maybe launched.
  • Sony. Xperia X2, XZ 2 plus more.
  • Moto (formerly Motorola, now Lenovo). Launches of Moto G5 and perhaps Moto G5 Plus and Moto G5 Plus.
  • Nokia (back agian! now owned by Global HMD). Retro launch of one of the world’s best-selling phones, Nokia 3310 :-), Nokia 6  an Android mobile for the Chinese market and the “world’s largest” tablet sized 18.3″ .
  • Blackberry (and still alive) will introduce Mercury, an Android mobile with classic hard-buttoned Qwerty keyboard.
  • Bäcke from Sweden. Launch of two low-priced Androids, one with the backside cover of hemp/plastic and one with linen/plastics. These will only be available to order online and priced at  €300.
  • In addition, vendors such as Alcatel, Microsoft, Xiaomi, Meizu, OnePlus and HP will showcase their (and some new) mobiles.


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Is this your mobile wallet? Hope not!

  • There is a steady stream of new players entering the mobile payment and mobile wallets, making the market and consumers more and more confused. But I say be cool, consilidation game is on and we are starting to see where it’s going. The winners will be card and account based solutions and that add more than “just payments” to merchants and consumers.

Big players like Apple, Google and Samsung is launching their wallets country by country, banks is doing it starting with person-to-person payments services and local/regional heroes are adding more sevices to their wallets to get adoption.

Anyway, the most used mobile wallet today is the below one and it’s not recommended! At least in Europe this is the mobile wallet you will find at most users. These wallets, eg. smartphones with your payment cards and id’s in the sleeve, are all over the place lying on the tables at cafe’s and restaurants. If you loose your mobile, you will also loose your cards. I wonder why people don’t do their physical wallets in the same way? The “phone & card” way seems alright..but it isn’t!


I discussed this with several card issuing banks in Sweden and Norway and they all say the same. The card owner need to have their cards in “full control” and leaving them at the bar often stored in a glass waiting for more orders, in a bag hanging on back of your chair at the restaurant or on the table, is in most cases “not in control”. This means, if lost or stolen the bank can deny to pay back eventual money withdrawals done “by others”.

So, until your cards is virtual and locked and managed via mobile (but stored in the cloud), keep your physical cards the way you are used to, using a physical wallet or just out of sight.

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