Real-Time Payments Forecasted to Help Generate 0.23 % of GDP by 2026
Denmark, like its Nordic peers, is on a faster track to “cashlessness” than other developed markets, due to its high levels of financial inclusion and internet access.
In 2021, the country recorded 433 million real-time transactions, which resulted in an estimated cost savings of $71 million for businesses and consumers in 2021. This in turn – which helped to unlock $552 million of additional economic output, which represents 0.14% of the country’s GDP.
With real-time payments transaction numbers expected to rise to 883 million in 2026, – net savings for consumers and businesses are forecasted to climb to $151 million in 2026. This would , helping to generate an additional $1 billion of economic output, equivalent to 0.23 % of the country’s forecasted GDP.
Denmark’s real-time payments infrastructure, called Straksclearing, is owned by the Danish Bankers Association and was launched in 2014. To provide real-time payments, banks need to join Straksclearing and the central bank’s payments system, Kronos. In addition to banks, mobile payment providers such as MobilePay also provide real-time payments. In 2021, real-time payments represented a 9.9% share of payments by number of transactions, but it is predicted to gain significant growth by 2026 in both share of number of transactions and share of spending.
As a result, real-time payments can expand to fill the space left behind by cash and facilitate a more fully electronic economy.
Real-Time Payment Types
Year of Real-Time
Danes’ shopping habits have seesawed between eCommerce and card payments in 2021, depending on the curfews implemented in response to COVID. While Q1 was dominated by eCommerce transactions, Q2 and Q3 saw card transactions quickly rebound to pre-pandemic levels.1 In the background, contactless payments continue to rise and fraud with them. However, deployments by card issuers of increased monitoring and AI technology have had an observable impact.
Denmark is also in the process of refreshing the domestic real-time settlement rails (RTGS). This is aligned with similar projects underway in neighboring Nordic markets, with four RTGS refreshes all moving through a single supplier. One of the primary goals is to synchronize their modernization on the ISO 20022 standard, so each is working towards similar timelines. Arguably, this potentially introduces risks and challenges for the participants and trade bodies to navigate.
In terms of the regional picture, a good level of harmony between the payment rulebooks of the NPC and those found in the European Union hasn’t stopped strong lobbying for more streamlined transactions between local currencies and the euro. While the regulating bodies work to find some common ground, the region’s financial institutions are innovating around least-cost routing. The result is a high level of sophisticated thinking at banks around taking advantage of different payment rails to deliver a better quality of service, all at a lower cost to their corporate customers.
Developments such as this and the ongoing P27 cross-border initiative will ensure that Danish banks and payment players benefit from greater interoperability between domestic, regional and international schemes. But each market must balance the need to deliver choices to drive innovation, increase competition and lower costs today, while keeping an eye on the future costs of maintaining and operating compliance with multiple schemes. The ideal state is a common and uniform set of gateway services that can provide multi-scheme access, which would substantially extend the reach of current interoperability capabilities and make future changes much easier to onboard.
Mobile Wallet Trends
% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have
used it in the past year (2021)
Real-Time Total Participants
Population Banking Level
Number of debit, credit and
charge cards per adult
Index to global average
F5 Yr CAGR
Payments Fraud Rate
Population who reported being a
victim of fraud in the last 4 years
Top 3 Payment Fraud Types
|% of fraud victims||Trend|
Card details stolen online
Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument
- Paper-based payments
- Electronic payments
- Real-time payments
Immediate Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f
Denmark ranked as the 35th largest global economy in 2021 and is classified as a high-income country. (Cebr, World Economic League Table, 2022).
The current share of real-time payments (9.9% of all transactions in Denmark) led to an estimated efficiency savings of $71 million for consumers and businesses, driven in large part by a reduction in the costs associated with failed transactions. Failed transactions generated an associated cost of $118.5 billion annually, borne by financial institutions, consumers and other businesses across the globe. In Denmark specifically, we estimate the total cost of failed transactions to be $342 million per year. However, real-time payments saved the aforementioned stakeholders from an additional $37 million of payment failure costs in 2021. With regards to the realized aggregate economic benefits in 2021, real-time transactions contributed to 0.14% of GDP ($552 million), or the output of 4,013 workers annually.
For 2026 we estimate that the efficiency savings for consumers and businesses will grow to $151 million, contributing to the realized macroeconomic benefits of real-time almost doubling to $1 billion or 0.23% of formal GDP. This is in line with the forecasted CAGR of real-time transactions of 15.3% over the five-year period, with real-time payments estimated to represent 17.8% of the payments mix volume by 2026.
For Businesses and Consumers
Net savings stimulated by real-time payments
Projected net savings stimulated by real-time payments
of economic output
of GDP facilitated by real-time payments
Projected of economic output
of GDP facilitated by real-time payments
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