Finland is one of the world’s Top 10 happiest, most coffee drinking, and most democratic nations. It is also at the forefront of the fintech revolution. High internet penetration, a good education system and a tech-savvy society all contribute to an environment where creativity thrives and people are not afraid to try out new things.
As a relatively small market, it is possible to pilot new innovations and get them to market quickly. As a result, Finnish consumers have enjoyed using experiential payment methods for the past 4 years.
Here are five key areas of innovation you may not be aware of:
1.) Cash is not a popular choice and with time many Finns believe this payment method will become obsolete. The majority of transactions in Finland are CHIP and PIN-based. In fact, when it comes to public transport it is actually more expensive to pay for goods by cash. Finland rolled out EMV in the early 2000s and contactless technology is booming. Finns are used to tap-to-pay for almost anything – from a quick breakfast on-the-go, to high value weekly shopping.
2.) Value-added services such as merchant loyalty cards are a common sight – often integrated within smartphone apps or digital wallets for ease and speed of use. Finns are spoiled for choice, with over 6 different mobile wallet offerings available.
3.) As a result of high card penetration in Finland – the 5th highest in Europe – even the smallest independent shops accept card payments. This means mPOS technology which enables micro merchants to accept cards quickly and easily is popular. Additionally, pay-by-app – such as Verifone partner Wolt who offers food ordering and delivery – are growing in number. In these scenarios, Verifone manages and secures the payment transaction coming from the app to provide the consumer with a seamless experience.
4.) Tokenisation is widely popular. With highly developed multi- and omni-channel offerings, Finns can start the buying process online and finish it in-store without any problems.
5.) New payment solutions emerge almost daily. Only recently a fintech startup Uniqul announced plans to allow customers to pay for purchases by face recognition.
Still, there’s plenty of room for further innovating the way people pay. For example, Finland has yet to achieve widespread use of unattended terminals in stores. While the technology already works well at gas pumps, ATMs and parking terminals, a better presence in stores would be welcome for many Finnish consumers. But with many eyes focused on making payments as effortless as possible, we can expect many more payment innovations to come from Finland in the coming years.