The Riksbank’s task in relation to payments

The Riksbank shall “contribute to the stability and efficiency of the financial system, including the ability of the public to make payments”. This means that the Riksbank shall contribute to the stability of the financial system and ensure that it is possible to make payments safely and efficiently.

The central bank’s role on the payment market

Payments and the payment system are central parts of Sweden’s infrastructure. They can be compared with the transport network or water and sanitation. Without payments, society cannot function. Consequently, the Riksbank and other central banks around the world have been tasked with promoting safe and efficient payments.

The Riksbank’s role and tasks on the payment market involve providing solutions, with a social perspective as base, in areas where it is difficult to achieve good economic efficiency without central government participation.

To ensure that it is possible to make payments safely and efficiently, the Riksbank:

  • issues banknotes and coins
  • owns and runs the central payment system (RIX), which banks and other agents can use to make payments
  • monitors and analyses developments in the market and publishes an annual evaluation report - see Payments report
  • works to safeguard the stability and efficiency of the payment market - for example, the Riksbank is investigating the possibility of issuing a digital complement to cash, known as the e-krona
  • acts to ensure the stability of the financial system - read more about financial stability
  • is responsible for enabling the general public to make payments both in crisis situations that occur during peacetime and in a situation where there is a heightened alert - read more about the Riksbank’s responsibility for civil contingency planning for payments

The Riksbank also produces statistics, participates in the drafting of regulations and responds to referrals and consultations. The Riksbank also participates in discussions with market players and in international forums, including the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and acts to ensure that international regulations promote a safe and efficient payment mechanism.

What is needed for payments to be safe and efficient?

For payments to be safe, money must maintain its value over time and not be counterfeited or used for fraud. Payment service providers and payment systems must be covered by a clear regulatory framework and be resilient to shocks. There must also be several means of payment so that payments can be made even if one of the systems suffers disruptions.

For payments to be efficient, the costs to society, including energy consumption, for various methods of payment must be low. Payments must also be fast and simple, users must have good access to payment services and there must be different payment methods to choose between, depending on the situation and conditions.

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Updated 03/01/2023