P27 Nordic Payments (P27), the biggest regional, cross-border, instant payment project ever attempted, is not certain of its future.
The company informed Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, in a statement that it had withdrawn its application for a clearing licence.
According to the CEO of P27, Paula da Silva, “our vision was to provide a better payments infrastructure to the 27 million people living in the Nordics, with a realistic timeline. It has become increasingly clear that our vision was overly ambitious and intricate. As a result, we must reconsider our goals for the Nordic payments market.
The announcement comes at a difficult time for the organisation, which had submitted its second application for a clearing licence in 2022 after the supervisor had rejected its initial application in 2019.
It was recently revealed that the Danish banking industry had chosen to pursue an alternative review of modernising the nation’s payment infrastructure rather than moving forward with the P27 project. The Swedish Instant Payment system also made the decision in recent weeks to collaborate with other players to modernise the nation’s payment systems.
Finland and Norway have not yet released official statements, but throughout the duration of the project, Norway has participated in a distant, even cynical, manner.
Da Silva said: “We are now in a dialogue with our owner banks to evaluate the best options going forward. The company has not confirmed whether or not it will be closing its doors. In Sweden, we have a strong banking sector, and we’ve always shared responsibility for maintaining a reliable payment infrastructure.
The ambitious P27 project, a collaboration between Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, OP Financial Group, SEB, and Swedbank, set out to create the first real-time, cross-border payment system to support multiple currencies. The group was formed to create a common clearing platform for payments made across Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway in DKK, EUR, and SEK.
According to a recent article from Dagens Industri, there has been a lot of pressure and a rumoured crisis meeting at Sweden’s FSA earlier this year with Swedbank and SEB. The banks reportedly proposed a drastic plan to move forward without Finland and Denmark, where P27 would focus on redesigning Sweden’s payments ecosystem.
According to the article, P27 has spent nearly 700 million Swedish crowns (about £55 million) since its founding in 2018, with the majority of that amount going towards consultant fees and salaries for about 80 employees.
Bankgirot is owned by P27, and the two businesses will keep working together to maintain the current payment infrastructure as long as it is required.