Payments Report 2024

Are payments in Sweden accessible?

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Problems with opening and maintaining payment accounts

Published: 14 March 2024

Having access to a payment account is a prerequisite for making payments in today’s digital society. It is needed, for example, for debit cards and Swish. Without a payment account, it is difficult to receive your salary, pay your bills and even access cash. It is virtually impossible for a company to operate without a payment account.

In a report , Finansinspektionen (FI) notes that the number of consumers having their payment accounts closed has increased by 30 per cent between 2020 and 2022. At the same time, banks continue to refuse consumers to open accounts to the same extent as before. FI also notes that the number of companies denied a payment account is slightly higher than the corresponding figure for private persons. As mentioned in Section Are payments in Sweden efficient?, many members of the Swedish Fintech Association have also experienced problems opening or maintaining payment accounts.

While there is no statutory right for companies to open a payment account, the Payment Services Act gives consumers residing in the European Economic Area (EEA) the right to open a payment account with basic functions in all EEA countries, unless there are special reasons to deny the account or it would be contrary to the Money Laundering Act. Most often, banks cite anti-money laundering rules, in particular lack of knowledge of the customer (KYC), as a reason for denying or cancelling accounts to consumers and companies.