Payments in Sweden 2019

Security in Sweden is high from an international perspective

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Money and the institutions handling payments must be secure

Published: 7 November 2019

Several things are needed for payments to be secure. Firstly, money must maintain its value over time. Secondly, the institutions that handle our money and payments must be secure. Thirdly, the financial infrastructure, which is to say the technical systems used to mediate payments between different credit institutions, for example banks, must be secure.

The Riksbank’s inflation target ensures that a Swedish krona keeps its value over time. Finansinspektionen, the Riksbank and other authorities work to ensure that the credit institutions and the infrastructure handling our money and payments are secure. The deposit guarantee means that private individuals with money in institutions covered by the deposit guarantee receive compensation from the state (up to SEK 950,000 per institution) if the institution enters bankruptcy or if the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, Finansinspektionen, decides that the deposit guarantee is to be applied. All Swedish banks are covered by the deposit guarantee.

The Riksbank’s assessments of the risks in the banks and the financial infrastructure in Sweden are presented in the Riksbank’s report on financial stability twice per year. In the latest report, the Riksbank’s assessment was that the financial infrastructure works well overall at present, but that resilience to financial and operational risks needs to increase.

The Riksbank’s central settlement system for large-scale payments, RIX, and the clearing house, Bankgirot, are central hubs in the Swedish payment system. Disruptions and interruptions in either of these systems therefore affect the entire payment system and can result in one or more payment systems ceasing to function. In recent years, the disruptions that have occurred in RIX have not affected the ability of companies and households to make payments.

The Swish service has experienced few disruptions in 2019, but customers may still have had problems using the app to pay. The disruptions may have their origin in Swish, the underlying infrastructure (BiR) that Swish utilises, or one of the participating banks. As a customer, it is difficult to know where the cause of the disruptions lies. Of course, as more and more people use Swish and rely on the service, it becomes more serious when there are disruptions in the underlying infrastructure. It is therefore important for the institutions and infrastructure that enable Swish payments to ensure vulnerabilities are minimized.