Swish, Nets Get Together to Advance Mobile Payments in Sweden

July 10, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Sweden is, by some accounts, one of the biggest bastions of mobile payments operations that Europe has ever seen. With good reason, too; for a while there, it was starting to look like Sweden was well on its way to a full-on cashless society. Now, new reports suggest that Sweden’s taking another run in this direction as Nets, a mobile payments company, and Swish, the leading Swedish payments app, are getting together to launch a new pilot program.

Said to be the first of its kind in Sweden, the Nets / Swish pilot will offer in-store mobile payments. It’s already been launched at two Swedish restaurants, and when the leaves start to turn colors this autumn, a further expansion is set to hit.

Under the pilot program, Swish and Nets will offer different components of what amounts to a near-field communications (NFC) kind of experience, offering tap-and-pay services to consumers. This is accomplished with the simple addition of a “Bluetooth box” which offers the necessary bridge between customers’ smartphones and the businesses’ systems. No new terminals required; just a simple bolt-on option to step up to an in-store mobile payments option.

Nets Merchant Services senior vice president Jan Lundequist explained “The payment experience is similar to making a contactless payment, which consumers are accustomed to — particularly in countries like Sweden with high digital penetration. Not only can merchants easily install the solution and accept Swish payments through their existing Nets terminals, but it’s also easy and intuitive for consumers to use.”

That’s all fine and well, but there’s one big problem with this concept. About a year and a half ago, we’d heard reports that suggested Sweden was believing itself a little too interested in mobile payments. Having seen the writing of a cashless society on the wall, it pulled back from the brink of full commitment. It was clear that the elderly and the unbanked—common late adopters of payments technology—just weren’t up to the task as yet, so cash options were kept in place.

Swish and Nets likely have a good product in the making here, but the market may not be particularly interested in one more mobile payments option in an environment where they were a hair’s breadth from going completely cashless as it was.