Payments in Sweden 2019

International payments need to be streamlined

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Efforts for smoother international payments

Published: 7 November 2019

A number of banks and innovative companies abroad and in Sweden are taking various initiatives to make international payments easier. One example is the Utility Settlement Coin (USC), which is run by 13 major international banks. USC can be seen as a bank-issued stablecoin intended for financial transactions. The banks’ aim is to launch USC in 2020. Another example is a collaboration between a number of banks in Denmark, Finland and Sweden called P27, which has the ambition of creating a joint Nordic infrastructure for payments in Swedish and Danish currency and possibly also in Norwegian kroner and euros. A further example is provided by SWIFT’s service GPI (Global Payments Innovation), which is a new standard for international payments that contributes towards increasing the speed, transparency and traceability of international payments.

Innovative fintech companies have also launched new products. For example, Ripple has created a blockchain-based system, primarily for interbank payments. Other fintech companies offer services to companies and private individuals. These services are often based on the fintech company itself combining and offsetting incoming and outgoing payments, more or less like a clearing house. This means that the number of payments that must ultimately be executed becomes fewer and for smaller amounts than the original payments, which reduces costs.

The problem of slow international payments has recently been pointed out by international organisations, the Riksbank and other central banks. This issue will continue to attract attention in the future. It would be positive if the central banks could find a good solution to reduce the need to use less secure private alternatives.