The Sweden card payments market is forecast to grow 8.3% in 2024 to reach SEK1.5 trillion ($138.3bn), supported by high consumer preference for electronic payments, according to GlobalData, publishers of EPI.

GlobalData’s Payment Cards Analytics reveals that card payment value in the Sweden registered a growth of 11.7% in 2022, driven by a rise in consumer spending. The value is estimated to have registered a growth of 8.7% to reach SEK1.4 trillion ($127.7bn) in 2023.

Ravi Sharma, Lead Banking and Payments Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Sweden has a well-developed card payment market, supported by robust payment infrastructure featuring widespread acceptance of electronic payments. The country benefits from a near-100% banked population, and high consumer preference for electronic payments.”

Sharma adds: “Sweden is heading towards a true ‘cashless society,’ led by government initiatives and a societal shift away from cash, coupled with high preference for payment cards. Payment card usage frequency for payments stood at 225.2 transactions per card in 2023, among the highest in the world. Growth in the payment card market has been supported by the combined efforts of the government and banks to promote digital payments and improve payment card acceptance infrastructure.”

High-banked population has ensured strong adoption of payment cards, and the emergence of fintechs and digital-only banks will further support banking and card penetration.

The most prominent is Denmark-based Lunar, which expanded to Sweden in 2019

In Sweden, Lunar’s customer base increased to over 200,000, as of April 2023. The current trends show that card penetration is unlikely to change greatly in the future. High financial inclusion resulted in higher card penetration which in turn contributed to the overall card payments.

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The transition from cash to cards is evident in the expanding number of POS terminals and rise in contactless payments. All the country’s major banks now offer contactless cards, while the declining use of cash and near-daily use of payment cards means the scope for contactless payments is ample. According to Nets Nordic Payment Report 2023, in Sweden, around 85.6% of card payments were contactless in H2 2023, up from 82.7% in H2 2022.

Sharma concludes: “Sweden is heading towards a less cash-centric society, led by government initiatives and a societal shift away from cash. The continuous decline in cash usage, coupled with high usage rates of payment cards, makes Sweden one of the front-runners to become fully cashless. The Sweden card payments market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% between 2024 and 2028 to reach SEK1.9 trillion ($177bn) in 2028.”