Payments Report 2024

Are payments in Sweden accessible?

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Many do not have access to e-identification (e-ID)

Published: 14 March 2024

Digital payment services often require the payer to be able to identify themselves and confirm the payment with an e-ID. There are several e-IDs in Sweden today, but BankID is by far the most common with around 8.5 million users in 2023. It is the banks that issue BankID and they decide who can access the service and how it can be used. According to estimates by the Payments Inquiry, about one tenth of the adult population does not have access to BankID. This is particularly true for older people.

Physical ID documents, such as passports and driving licences, are issued by the state. There may be several benefits of the state also issuing an e-ID. Firstly, it can ensure that people can identify themselves electronically without being a customer of a bank. Second, a national e-ID can promote competition in the payments market by allowing competitors of banks to use an alternative service for identification when making a digital payment. Thirdly, a national e-ID that can be used for payments could make it easier for individuals to pay in normal circumstances and during disruptions, as there would be an additional option for identification. The Riksbank is therefore in favour of the Government investigating a national e-ID. We elaborate on this in Chapter The Riksbank's work and policy.

New rules can contribute to payments market objectives

In recent years, several legislative proposals in the field of payments have been presented at EU level. Some proposals have already been adopted by the EU and several legislative processes have been launched to put the new legislation in place in EU Member States. The updated and partly new EU legislation can contribute to safer, more efficient and more accessible payments in the future. Below are some of the most important adopted and proposed rules.

In June 2023, the European Commission submitted a single legislative package for payment services. The legislative package is divided into a regulation (Payment Services Regulation) and a directive (Payment Services Directive) which together will replace the currently valid Payment Services Directive and e-Money Directive. In particular, the new legislation aims to strengthen competition, consumer protection and inclusion in the payments market.

In November, the European Parliament and the European Council reached an agreement on the so-called Instant Payment Regulation (IPR). The regulation is an update of the so-called SEPA Regulation on payments in euro and requires, among other things, that payment service providers offering regular transfers between accounts in euro also offer instant payments. Instant account transfers must not be more expensive than regular transfers and payment service providers should offer solutions for the identification of payees before a payment is confirmed.

For Sweden, the amendment to the regulation means that banks offering account transfers in euro must offer instant euro transfers. However, the regulation does not affect the possibility of making instant payments in Swedish kronor. It therefore also does not affect Swedish banks or other payment service providers that only offer account transfers in Swedish krona.

The Markets in Cryptographic Assets Regulation (MiCA) was adopted in May 2023. The regulation regulates who can issue cryptoassets and who can provide cryptoasset services, such as exchanges where crypto can be traded. The regulation also means that anyone who wants to issue cryptoassets and offer services such as providing crypto exchanges needs a licence to do so. There must also be a legal entity registered in the EU issuing the cryptoasset. The MiCA regulation rules will enter into force on 30 December 2024. However, the parts related to stablecoins will already begin to apply on 30 July 2024.

The Riksdag passed a new act in May 2023 aimed at strengthening the accessibility of certain products and services. The act transposes the EU Accessibility Directive into Swedish law and will come into force on 28 June 2025. It covers, among other things, banking and finance and e-commerce services relevant to payments. Such services should be understandable, robust and not have overly complex language. However, several referral bodies have criticised the fact that the directive does not cover cognitive accessibility and that there are too many possibilities to make exceptions to the requirements.