Nordic Countries Set Example When it Comes to Adopting Contactless Payments

November 8, 2023

For many industries, Nordic countries seem to be the most adaptable – especially when it comes to improving quality of life while also reducing the environmental impact, so it comes as no surprise that these countries are still on the lead when it comes to adopting cashless payment methods.  

According to the Nordic Payments Report, globally, cash use is the lowest in Nordic countries, with almost a third of consumers saying they never make use of cash, even when visiting a brick and mortar store.
Comparing today to five years ago. The use of cash has dropped significantly, and continues on a downward trajectory. However, it is believed it will soon reach a plateau.

Cash has been overtaken by mobile payments for the second most used payment method, the first one, as in many regions in the world, are credit and debit cards.

One of the major reasons for this transformation are contactless capabilities, and the relative convenience and safety these pose when compared to cash or QR-code payments.

Payment cards are the number one method of payment, however, it is expected for that number to decrease as well in the coming years, as the report notes, “Gradual decrease in usage.” This is due to the rising popularity of mobile payments, which are expected to take off even further.

According to the survey, even though most mobile payments are card-based, mobile payments are seen as a separate entity.

Contactless provides a seamless and secure payment experience for consumers, while facilitating newer payment methods like SoftPOS, which are set to transform physical commerce experiences in the coming years.

Back in 2019, the contactless payment limit without the requirement of a PIN number increased to €50. Ever since then, contactless payments have only grown in popularity, partly thanks to the pandemic.

Nexi expects to see contactless payments continue to grow in popularity in the coming year.


As a whole, nine in ten nordics opt for contactless payments when purchasing goods.

Sweden has seen the biggest decline in cash usage(50%), followed by Norway (40%), Denmark (27%) and Finland (10%).

Mobile payments are most preferred amongst Swedish and Danish consumers.

Apple Pay is a big contribution to contactless payments, however, local brands such as Sweden’s Swish, Norway’s Vipps and Denmark’s MobilePay retain “strong use among consumers.”

So, what does this mean for the rest of the world? Many countries across the globe consider the Nordic countries to be an example to follow. It is only a matter of time before most countries finally adopts contactless payment methods as the preferred method, even over payment cards.


Want to learn more? Check out Payments Cards and Mobile’s full write-up here.

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