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Finance and Payments

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Finance and Payments in The Nordic Region

Introduction

For many international merchants, accepting payments online means accepting payment cards; debit, credit or pre-paid. The Nordics however have very different preferences between each of them. Norway and Denmark are heavy users of cards for payments online while bank transfer is much more prevalent in Finland. In Sweden, cards and open invoice have very similar market penetration.


Popular payment methods

Open invoice is a key payment method in Sweden. This process involves a third-party providing the merchant with a facility by which they can receive the money quickly, often at point of purchase. The service provider then provides a credit facility to the consumer. Sometimes this might involve paying in full once the product has arrived, or a variable period over which the credit can be paid off. There is a cost to the customer for this service but it provides them with the confidence that if something is wrong, then they haven’t paid for the product. The third-party also takes the credit and fraud risk, at a cost to the retailer but, unlike with cards, there is no chargeback risk. This is certainly a service worth consideration by international merchants.

 

In some countries, open invoice can be difficult due to the availability of personal data for credit scoring purposes. Denmark has some challenges in this area.

 

Bank transfer is a popular method in Finland and Sweden. This service sees the consumer making a ‘push’ payment from their bank account to that of the merchant. Again, this provides consumers with additional confidence as they feel more in control of the transaction. As there are a large banks in Finland and Sweden, it is worth using a partner that can aggregate these services as part of the checkout process.

 

e-Wallets currently have modest usage in the Nordics although this is increasing as m-commerce grows.


Payments Fraud

Security is the biggest concern for online consumers and this fear is heightened when they are looking at a foreign merchant’s website. Introducing local payment methods and joining a trust mark scheme goes a long way to helping the consumer; but what is the risk for merchants looking to trade into these territories?

 

Often card fraud is perpetrated from other territories and these are known and included in the risk management tools that PSPs and merchants are already running. The Nordics don’t represent a particularly high risk in this area and research by go2checkout.com shows that Norway, Sweden and Denmark score as some of the lowest fraud risk areas globally (by IP address of perpetrators).

 

That’s not to say the risk doesn’t exist, it’s just that the region isn’t seen as a hotbed of card fraud at present.


Further information

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