The future of P27 Nordic Payments (P27), the largest regional, cross-border, instant payment project to be attempted in history, is uncertain.
In a statement released on Thursday, the company announced that it has withdrawn its clearing licence application from Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.
In the press release, P27 CEO Paula da Silva stated: “Our vision was to provide a better payments infrastructure to the 27 million people living in the Nordics, with an optimistic timeline. Lately, it is evident that our vision was too ambitious and complex. Hence, we need to reassess our future ambition in the Nordic payments market.”
The announcement comes amid turbulent times for the group, which had submitted its second application for a clearing licence in 2022 after its initial application in 2019 was rejected by the supervisor.
It was recently made public that Denmark’s banking sector had decided to proceed with other solutions instead of the P27 project, choosing to pursue an alternative review of modernising the country’s payment infrastructure. Additionally, the Swedish Instant Payment scheme also decided in recent weeks that it will work with other players to modernise the country’s payment schemes.
Finland and Norway are yet to make a formal statements, however Norway has been a distant, even cynical, participant throughout the project’s existence.
While the company has not confirmed whether or not it will be closing its doors, da Silva stated: “We are now in a dialogue with our owner banks to evaluate the best options going forward. We have a strong banking community in Sweden that have always taken common responsibility to ensure a resilient and robust payment infrastructure.”
P27 is a joint initiative by Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, OP Financial Group, SEB and Swedbank, which ambitiously aimed to build the world’s first real-time, cross-border payment system in multiple currencies. The group was established to build a common clearing platform for payments in DKK, EUR and SEK, across Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
A recent article from Dagens industri pointed to severe strain and a reported crisis meeting at Sweden’s FSA, with Swedbank and SEB earlier this year, with the banks proposing a drastic plan to push ahead without Finland and Denmark, where P27 would narrow its focus to revamping Sweden’s payments ecosystem.
The article explained that since its birth in 2018, P27 incurred almost 700 million Swedish crowns (approx. £55 million), largely spent on consultant fees and salaries for approximately 80 employees.
P27 is the owner of Bankgirot and the two companies will continue to cooperate to make sure that the current payment infrastructure is operational as long as needed.