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Nordea confirm Pan-Nordic payment infrastructure instant in nature


InstaPay has received exclusive confirmation that a pan-Nordic cross-border ISO20022-enabled payment infrastructure that is being investigated by a group of major Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish banks, including DNB and SEB, will be instant in nature, if it is greenlighted, and compatible with Europe’s SCT Inst scheme.

Speaking exclusively to Neil Ainger, InstaPay’s editor, Claus Richter, Head of CM Customer Solutions, Transaction Banking at participating bank Nordea, confirmed that: “Real-time payments will be part of the scope of the exploratory project, but the scope will also have bulk payments and collections within the remit.”

The domestic and cross-border payment backbone, covered previously by InstaPay, would be accessible by everyone, supplemented by common products and available in multiple currencies (SEK, DKK, NOK and EUR). It would use common European standards, if greenlighted, with Richter confirming this “means ISO20022”.

When questioned if the potential pan-Nordic scheme, which is still exploratory at this stage, would be compatible with the single euro payments area (SEPA) instant credit transfer (SCT Inst) scheme, Richter said: “That is the plan, but a solution is not designed yet.”

In regard to the parameters and if it would be less than 10 second delivery; irrevocable; contain maximum transaction limits and so on – as SCT Inst does – he commented: “This is not finalised yet.”

“This a joint project between 7 banks and they represent the major banks in all the 4 Nordic countries,” said Richter. The other banks are Danske, Handelsbanken, OP Financial Group and Swedbank.

“There is not a primary country mover,” added Richter. When asked if the Baltic countries might join the pan-Nordic instant payments infrastructure at a later date, he said: “That is not discussed or decided yet.”

The intention is to replace the present fragmented national payment infrastructures with a harmonised, interoperable system that can support products offered on a cross-border basis, fostering deeper trade links between the Nordic countries and thereby stimulating growth and employment.

The open access, if not ownership, model is no doubt designed to encourage competition among payment service providers (PSPs) in the region and align with regulation and trends such as the second EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and its support for open application programming interfaces (APIs) and  competition.

InstaPay will be following this story throughout the year.


Author: Neil Ainger