Payments Report 2024

Modernisation of the payment infrastructure necessary

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The bank-owned payment infrastructure is facing major changes

Published: 14 March 2024

Banks’ infrastructure needs to be modernised

The Riksbank assesses that the bank-owned payment infrastructure, particularly Bankgirot, needs to be modernised and that the banks need to prioritise this. The Riksbank is therefore positive to Bankgirot being given a clear mandate by its owner banks in September 2023 to ensure a functioning Swedish payment infrastructure in both the short and long term. The banks need to ensure that Bankgirot is given the prerequisites to develop and has staff with the necessary technical expertise.

In a modern and secure infrastructure, Swedish payments need to be harmonised with European standards to increase safety and efficiency throughout the payment chain. All participants in the Swedish payments market - banks, payment institutions, clearing organisations and settlement systems - need to be able to manage payments according to the regulatory framework that the Nordic Payments Council (NPC) has developed together with the market. NPC’s regulations should in turn follow European regulations as far as possible, partly to facilitate payments between Sweden and other EU countries.

Access to the private payment infrastructure should be evaluated

Upcoming EU legislation opens up the possibility for payment institutions and e-money institutions to have direct access to payment infrastructures such as RIX and Bankgirot’s clearing and settlement service. The owners of the private payment infrastructure, especially Bankgirot, should therefore investigate the conditions for giving more operators access to their infrastructure in the same way as the Riksbank does with RIX. Services such as Swish and Autogiro (direct debit) should also be open to different types of operators unless there are good reasons to restrict access.

More payments need to become instant

The Riksbank assesses that instant payments can contribute to a more efficient payment system, as described in Section Are payments in Sweden efficient?. The Riksbank therefore considers that more payments, in addition to Swish payments, should be able to be made instantly, such as ordinary account-to-account transfers initiated through internet or mobile banking. This would stimulate competition and create opportunities for payment service providers to develop more services for individuals and businesses, including through open banking. The Riksbank has enabled the banks to offer this type of payment service through the RIX-INST system.

At EU level, new legislation has been agreed to enable more euro payments to be made instantly, which you can read more about in the box “New rules can contribute to payments market objectives” in Section Are payments in Sweden accessible?. The Riksbank considers that a similar regulation could be relevant in Sweden to support the development towards more instant payments in Swedish kronor. At the same time, it is important to manage and mitigate potential fraud and money laundering risks that may arise if more payments are made instantly. The Riksbank will analyse the need for legislation and considers that the Riksdag and the Government should also examine the issue.