Nordic banks agree to fund common payment service

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Six of the Nordic region’s biggest banks have agreed to invest in pan-Nordic instant payment system P27, aiming to integrate payment services in the region into a single platform to help boost business.

FILE PHOTO: The Nordea Bank AB logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The platform would allow individuals and businesses to instantly send money from a mobile phone or corporate bank account to other countries in the region.

“P27 will become the world’s first integrated domestic and cross border real-time payments platform,” said P27’s CEO Lars Sjogren, when the banks announced the deal on Tuesday, without saying how much they expected to invest.

A single payment system which transacts across borders and currencies in the region would make trade between Nordic countries easier, particularly as countries such as Sweden move increasingly away from cash.

The group of banks, which include Danske Bank, Nordea, Swedbank, Handelsbanken, SEB and OP, have agreed unconditionally to fund P27 until it starts to generate its own revenue, said Martin Georgzen, P27’s head of strategy and communication.

“The Nordic banking sector already has a leading position in Europe, and P27 will help further expand and consolidate this position,” Sjorgren said.

He told Reuters a single system for real-time payments was a vital step as trade between Nordic countries accounts for 25% of the region’s total GDP.

“The Nordic countries are relatively small, so when we combine our markets we get a different scale and become much more attractive to partner with. This means we get better service for a lower price,” said Sjogren.

Georgzen said P27 would generate its income by charging fees for using the service. Each fee is fixed depending on the size of the payment, he added.

Georgzen said he expected the payment service to be ready by the start of 2021. He added P27 must now obtain a payment clearing license in Sweden, where the company is headquartered.

P27, which was set up in May, will facilitate payments in and between Sweden, Denmark and Finland, but it will not initially include Norway.

In June, P27 announced it would work with U.S payment service Mastercard to build its platform.

Reporting by Colm Fulton; Editing by Mark Potter