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A complete analysis of Sweden's cards, payments and consumer banking market, 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.
The effect of Swish on payment card 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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Sweden Country Report Data Tables
(All 2015-24F unless otherwise stated)
1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.
4: Access points: 2015-22E.
5: Account penetration.
6: Consumer payment trends 2015-22F.
7: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2015-22F.
8: Total card payment metrics.
9: Contactless card metrics.
10: Credit card numbers.
11: Total credit card metrics.
12: Credit card profitability indicators.
13: Debit card numbers.
14: Debit card metrics.
15: Mobile proximity payment metrics: 2017-24F.
16: Mobile P2P payments.
17: Profit pool: 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).
(All below 2015-22F unless otherwise stated)
18: Networks' credit card market shares.
19: Networks' credit card data numbers.
20: Networks' credit card billed volume.
21: Networks' number of credit card transactions.
22: Networks' average credit card transaction value.
23: Credit card interchange fees by network.
24: Networks' debit card market shares.
25: Networks' debit card data numbers.
26: Networks' debit card billed volume.
27: Networks' number of debit card transactions.
28: Networks' average debit card transaction value.
29: Debit card interchange fees by network.
30: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2017-22F.
31: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2017-22F.
32: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2017-22F.
33: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2021E.
34: Credit card merchant service charges: 2015-24F.
35: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2021E.
36: Debit card merchant service charges: 2015-24F.
37: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships: -
38: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships: -
39: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2021E.
40: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2021E.
41: Online merchant acquirer market share: 2021E.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copenhagen Business School
Elektronisk Data Behandling
European Central Bank
Finansiell ID-Teknik BID
International Monetary Fund
International Telecommunication Union
Norwegian Ministry of Finance
OM Contactless Forum
PAN-Nordic Card Association
Royal Institute of Technology
Santander Consumer Bank
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken
Stockholm Public Transport
Swedish Bankers' Association
Swedish Golf Association
Swedish Post and Telecom Agency
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.
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