Payments in Sweden 2020

Are payments in Sweden secure?

Few disruptions in important systems

Published: 29 October 2020

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.

In May 2020, an incident occurred in SWIFT, the global supplier of the network in which payment orders are sent between actors on the financial market. The incident affected the entire European market, including the RIX system in Sweden. As SWIFT is a highly central actor for most of the infrastructure of the financial markets, an incident can have very serious effects. The incident affected large sections of the financial markets, but payments in the consumer channel were not tangibly affected. As the incident was resolved quickly and also occurred at a time when there were few payments in RIX, it had a minor effect on the payment settlement in RIX.

For the Swish service to function, Bank-ID and the Betalningar i realtid (BiR) platform must also function. In addition, the banks’ internal systems must function. In total, access to Swish has been good, even though there have been some disruptions in these systems. As a customer, it is difficult to know where the cause of the disruption 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 that the institutions and infrastructure that enable Swish payments minimise their vulnerabilities.