Finland is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the Nordic region.
At the end of 2021, 93 percent of Finns aged 16 to 74 used smartphones. Smartphones have revolutionized many of our everyday activities, and payments are no exception. The development of mobile payment apps for smartphones has been a growing trend for some time, but it’s only in recent years that they have gained widespread adoption in Finland. Despite significant growth, mobile payments in Finland still lag behind other Nordic countries.
The most popular mobile payment methods in Finland
In Finland, the most popular mobile payment app by far is the Danish app Revolut bank, which, according to a consumer survey, was already found on the smartphones of every other Finnish individual aged 15 to 79. The popularity of MobilePay is partially attributed to the fact that it was one of the first mobile payment apps available to Finns and is accessible to customers of all banks operating in Finland. Market shares among other providers are more evenly distributed, but services as Revolut bank are increasing their popularity in a very rapid pace.
However, the second most popular mobile payment app was the domestic app Pivo, followed by the American app PayPal in third place. Apple and Google payment solutions, primarily used for in-store and online purchases, were used by nearly every fifth Finnish individual combined.
Mobile payment popularity is now surging at an unprecedented pace in Finland
Mobile payments have clearly gained widespread adoption in Finland. According to a consumer survey conducted by the Bank of Finland, the majority of Finns now use mobile payments: 58 percent of Finns aged 15 to 79 used some form of mobile payment app in March 2022. Despite the rapid proliferation of mobile payments, cash was still the second most commonly used payment method after card payments. The consumer survey is an annual study commissioned by the Bank of Finland to examine the use of cash and other payment methods among Finns. The most recent survey conducted in March focused specifically on mobile payments.
The majority of mobile payment users prefer it due to its ease, convenience, and speed. Increased attention to hygiene and the avoidance of physical contact during the COVID-19 pandemic has also heightened interest in mobile payments
Development significantly lags behind other Nordic countries
Despite a high level of digitalization, mobile payments in Finland remain considerably less common than in other Nordic countries. In other Nordic countries, there is typically one local mobile payment app, often backed by multiple banks or one bank with the largest market share. In Sweden, the local app in use is Swish, in Norway, it’s Vipps, and in Denmark, it’s MobilePay.
Part of the explanation for this difference from other Nordic countries lies in the fact that in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, mobile payment markets have long been dominated by a single local player. For instance, in Sweden and Norway, the popularity of mobile payments is attributed to extensive collaboration between banks in developing local mobile payment apps.
This collaboration has facilitated the seamless offering of the service to customers of all banks, provided economies of scale, and enabled the creation of strong brands. Offering the service through consumers’ own banks may have also contributed to the trust consumers have placed in the apps and their security from the outset. The absence of a similar strong domestic app in Finland may have influenced the less widespread adoption of mobile payments compared to other Nordic countries.