With the launch of Straksbetalinger in 2013, Norway integrated real-time payments within its national payments infrastructure. Straksbetalinger required significant improvement as it had some shortcomings, particularly around settlement issues that put the payee’s bank at risk. To remediate those issues, an updated version was released in 2020 called Straks 2.0. The mobile payments app Vipps was launched in 2015 to enable users to make real-time payments between Vipps users only. To fund their Vipps account, they use their bank account or card payments. Vipps is accepted by more than 100 banks in Norway.
In 2021, real-time payments represented 5.7% of total payments volume, making it the second most popular payments method after electronic payments (excluding real-time payments). The Norwegian market is still dependent on electronic payments (excluding real-time payments). But the future of real-time payments is positive as its total payments volume is projected to reached 16.4% by 2026, greatly benefitting from the drop of paper-based transactions.
With further development coming for Vipps, we can expect to see rapid growth with realtime payments in the future. In 2021, Vipps announced that it will be integrated with Danish MobilePay and Finnish Pivo to create a single wallet solution. If successful, this will create one of the largest mobile wallets in Europe with a user base of 11 million consumers and more than 330,000 merchants across the three countries.
Real-Time Payment Types
Year of Real-Time
Norway is one of Europe’s leading lights on the drive to go cashless. Cash transactions are hovering around just 3% and Norwegian citizens have also almost totally embraced cards for payments in the retail sector, with the highest usage of cards per capita in the world. And now the central bank is testing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) solution — the result of four years of research — as a way to boost digital payments adoption, increase payments efficiency with lower transaction fees and reduce fraud thanks to increased oversight via blockchain tech.
Beyond the region’s borders, a good level of harmony between the payment rulebooks of the Nordic Payments Council and those found in the European Union hasn’t stopped strong lobbying for more streamlined transactions between local currencies and the euro. Processing these one-leg-out transactions with eurozone countries remains inefficient and expensive. For now, in the absence
of a regulatory framework, banks are exploring least-cost routing, combining different rails to provide more competitive services to corporate customers.
That plays into a curious development in the region: despite high-profile and visionary drives to improve cross-border payments, each market is pursuing its own refresh of the domestic real-time settlement rails (RTGS). If P27 delivered on its ambitions, there arguably wouldn’t be any need for these projects — how many real time schemes are actually too much?
Care must be taken that these various modernizations reflect the fact that Norway’s banks are navigating a complex interplay between new domestic and cross-border requirements, each in different stages of development. Banks in the market should be aiming for a common and uniform set of gateway services that can provide multi-scheme access. Full convergence is potentially too disruptive in the mid-term, but the former approach would still deliver the required increase in reach for current interoperability capabilities. It would also make onboarding future changes less complex.
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
Bank account hacked
Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument
- Paper-based payments
- Electronic payments
- Real-time payments
Real-Time Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f
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The Need for Speed to Market in Consumer Payments - Payments modernization as a response to customer demand
Fraud Management Insights
Expanding the Horizons of Fraud Detection - The Network Intelligence Approach to Machine Learning
Defining and Building the Next-Generation Payments Hub - Global survey report from ACI Worldwide and Edgar, Dunn & Company
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