Nordic countries record surge in contactless payments during pandemic

Nets Nordic graph showing contactless adoption in the region
ADOPTION: In-store contactless payments have risen from 57% at the start of 2020 to 75% in October

The proportion of in-store purchases made using contactless cards in the Nordic countries has risen from 57% in January this year to 75% in late October, an increase “in part driven by concerns around the potential spread of Covid-19,” regional payments processor Nets reports.

“In Norway and Denmark, the governments imposed strong restrictions on social activities from late March, leading to a surge in contactless payments across shops and restaurants,” the company says.

“In Norway in January 2020, only 35% of payments were made contactless; by late October, it had more than doubled to 77% – overtaking Sweden and Finland in the process.

“During just one week of the Norwegian lockdown, the share of contactless payments jumped six points.

“In Sweden, where authorities took a less restrictive path to fight the pandemic, use of contactless payment has shown steadier growth during the year, rising from 44% in January to 60% of all in-store card payments by late October.

“Denmark is leading the pack with around 86% of all card payments in physical shops made contactlessly in the last week of October.

“Norway is second with a share of 77%, with Finland third at 70%.”

Norway increased the transaction limit for contactless payments without using a PIN to NOK500 (US$55.48) and Sweden doubled its limit to SEK400 (US$46.38) earlier in the pandemic.

The contactless transaction limit in Denmark has been DKK350 (US$55.71) for the past two years and in Finland it remains at EUR50 (US$59.28), the limit set by EU law.

NFCW’s complete list of contactless payment transaction limit increases around the world is available here.

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