Payments Report 2021

Are payments in Sweden safe?

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Downturn in number of card frauds

Published: 3 November 2021

Paying by card is on the whole safe in Sweden, but sometimes card fraud occurs when a debit card or credit card is read during a payment or when withdrawing cash from an ATM. However, the number of card frauds in Sweden has declined. During the first half of 2021, the number of police reports regarding card fraud declined by 27 per cent, compared with the same period in the previous year. The greater part of the decline is due to the number of registered card frauds without the physical card, for instance in card purchases online, having declined by 28 per cent in relation to the same period in the previous year.

Frauds without physical card declining

Number of card frauds with and without physical card

Figure: Frauds without physical card declining

The number of card frauds without the physical card has declined in recent years, at the same time as frauds with the physical card have remained at a relatively stable level. Statistics refer to number of crimes reported. Download the data from the diagram by clicking on the arrow to the right, above the diagram. Source: The Swedish Police Authority.

The decline can be explained by the EU requirement for ‘Strong Customer Authentication’, which began to apply in Sweden on 1 January 2021. This means, as a rule of principle, that a customer must provide identification using at least two of the following factors when making a digital payment or logging on to a payment account:

  • knowledge (something that only the user knows, for example a password or a PIN code)
  • a possession (something that only the user has, for example a card or a telephone)
  • a unique characteristic (something that the user has, for example a fingerprint).

There are, however, a number of exceptions from the requirement for strengthened customer authorisation, among other things for low-value transactions and in contactless payments in shops.