P27 To Take Over Danish Payments Infrastructure

January 6, 2022
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Finance Denmark, the country’s banking association, has agreed on a new sector plan that will see it replaced by cross-border platform P27 as the country’s clearinghouse.

Finance Denmark, the country’s banking association, has agreed on a new sector plan that will see it replaced by cross-border platform P27 as the country’s clearinghouse.

P27 has got off to a good start in 2022, being unveiled as the new deliverer of Denmark’s payments infrastructure.

The real-time payments initiative will now assume responsibility for the running of the nation's retail payments system, with the goal of making it easier for businesses and citizens in Denmark to pay bills and send real-time payments to other Nordic countries.

“This new, open infrastructure will create the foundation for building state-of-the-art payment solutions for customers throughout the Nordic region,” said Michael Busk-Jepsen, head of digitisation at Finance Denmark.

Denmark will be brought up to date with the latest payments standards, which again is instrumental for enabling payments solutions across the Nordic region and potentially also in the rest of Europe, he continued. “It will bring great benefits to all of us.”

Danish consumers will further benefit from this payments infrastructure as banks and other providers will be able to build new customer solutions on top of it.

“The updated infrastructure could make it possible for a MobilePay user in Denmark to make a payment to a Swish user in Sweden,” he pointed out, adding that another example would be a Danish company wanting to send a real-time payment to a European partner, whereby he suggested new bill payment solutions could be developed.

This announcement is another sign of the progress of P27, with some having previously questioning the slow development of this ambitious project.

Named after the 27m citizens of the countries in the Nordics, it is a collaboration between six of the region’s largest banks: Danske Bank; Handelsbanken; Nordea; OP Financial Group; SEB; and Swedbank.

Running as a company since 2019, its task has been to design and plan a pan-Nordic, multi-currency domestic and cross-border payments platform. The company has partnered with Mastercard, which took charge of the management and running of the platform as a managed service.

July last year was a significant milestone for the company after it received European Commission approval. Yet, it has also faced reproval from regulators in its home countries, with a Riksbank official warning last spring that its momentum was not developing into actual progress.

The other elephant in the room for P27 is that Norway has yet to come on board, something which was touched upon by Busk-Jepsen in the announcement: “Hopefully, Norway will also join our Nordic clearing-family. This can potentially result in a Nordic clearing setup with full interoperability across the region, replacing the current national clearing operations.”

Norway withdrew from the project in 2019, and former P27 chief executive Lars Sjögren bemoaned this in 2020, stating that he did not know why it was not on board and that when it had been, it was a driving force.

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