Debit cards market continues to dominate, limiting the growth scope for credit cards
Finnish consumers have traditionally preferred debit cards to make payments. Banks and card issuers often offer debit cards with a dual function, debit, and credit, enabling consumers to make deferred payments. The Cards and Payments allow customers making transactions in Finland or abroad to opt to pay by debit or credit at the POS terminal, with cards having both a credit card number on the front and a debit card number on the reverse. Given the stronghold that debit cards have on the payments card instrument, credit cards have been slow to take off. There has been a significant amount of activity from 2007 onwards, however, as Finnish banks have become part of larger pan-Nordic banking groups which have used their experience in other markets to update and enhance the country’s credit card offerings. Credit card issuers are using a few initiatives to entice customers, such as zero annual fees, an interest-free credit period of up to 40 days, reward points, discounts at partner retailers and cashback offers, among others.
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The growth of prepaid cards is limited and concentrated only in niche markets
While the prepaid card market is growing rapidly in Europe and the Nordic region, Finland is yet to be fully explored by banks and card-issuing companies. Prepaid cards have a minimal presence in Finland; the only multipurpose e-money scheme, Avant, was closed in 2006. Other available prepaid cards are the City Card, UniCard and KeyCard, which are single- or limited-purpose prepaid cards.
City cards are in use in some Finnish cities and are used for a limited range of services such as public transport, entrance to important sights and museums, and discounts in restaurants and shops. The low penetration of prepaid cards is expected to encourage card issuers to enter the market and gain market share by offering improved prepaid card offerings. In August 2014, for example, UK-based prepaid solution provider Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) launched the Airplay card in Finland in partnership with MasterCard.
Payments through mobile and e-wallets are gaining popularity among consumers
The use of mobile payments (m-payments) is growing rapidly among Finnish consumers. Younger consumers are extremely comfortable with various types of electronic payment methods, and typically use smartphones to make payments.
Overall, m-payment value grew significantly, at a review-period CAGR of 92.71%, and is anticipated to grow further to reach EUR443.7 million (US$616.4 million) in 2018. To cash in on the growing popularity of m-payments, retailers such as Hesburger are offering customers the opportunity to make payments through smartphones by using a mobile app and offering reward points for purchases.
Similarly, e-wallets are gaining prominence in Finland. Finnish telecommunications provider Elisa launched its Elisa Lompakko e-wallet service. Other operators offering e-wallet services include EuTeller, Skrill, Klarna, and Click2Pay.
Some of the Dominating players in the Market:
- OP Bank
- Danske Bank
- Aktia Bank
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