Swedish Banking Customers Are Sceptical of Mobile Payments

49% Of Swedish Banking Customers Are Sceptical About Mobile Payments

In his first guest article as a ‘Visible Banking Star’, Martin Odman – Head of Interactive at SBAB – shares his views on the potential for mobile payments in Sweden.  The Swedish people are reluctant now, but that will change.

On 4th February 2012, we turned 5 on that date, I announced the launch of the ‘Visible Banking Stars‘ programme as well as the total redesign of VisibleBanking.com.  If you are interested in joining our exclusive group of guest bloggers -all bankers, insurers and financial services professionals working in digital / social media / innovation- I invite you to email us.

Swedish Banking Customers Are Sceptical of Mobile PaymentsI am delighted to welcome our newest VB Star, and our first guest blogger from Sweden, Martin Odman – Head of Interactive at SBAB.

In his first article, Martin his sharing the result of a recent survey conducted by his bank, SBAB, on the topic of mobile payments.


When we, SBAB Bank, asked the Swedish people if they wanted the ability to pay with their mobile phones we were surprised to see that 49 percent of the people said NO.

Think about it. 49. Almost half of our fellow Swedes don’t want to use their mobile phones to pay for their tall skim latte macchiato, that spearmint chewing gum, that lukewarm sausage at 7Eleven way to late one Saturday night.

No. We want to pay in cash. Or even hassle with a credit card. Do not give us any new stuff. Jeez. Mobile phones are for calling. Or maybe for twitter. Not for paying.

The future
Let’s be frank. Mobile payments are the future. For all of us. Yes, even you mom.

Ok. After the first shock settled a bit I began to think a bit more. Maybe this is the case with every new thing that comes along? We are used to deal with cash and cards. It works fine. We have done it for ages. No problem. Except that one time when you had to walk home from that club in the middle of the night in a storm because you lost you wallet. Whatever.

A friend of mine reminded me of that Henry Ford (Daddy of Ford cars) quote:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

That may sound a bit cynical. But I think my friend found something here. If we want something it is to make our credit cards to be safe from thefts, to be attached to your body, to never wear out, to have a display that says how much money there’s left on it, to remind me if I ever dial the wrong pin code that I am losing my mind, and so on.

It would be the answer. Not bringing me the news that my phone is going to replace my wallet. I did not ask for that.

Not sexy
And there’s another thing coming to us. Transactions are not sexy. Not one single bit. Hate to tell you all.

It is like running up to my mother when I made my first digital compression into a QuickTime-movie in 1995. Screaming in ecstasy: “Look, mom. It is digital. Compressed with Cinepak. 15 frames per second. Thousands of colours. 180 x120 pixels.”

She looks at it. Frowns her forehead. Says: “It is very small for a TV. No?”

Hey, digital video is not sexy. Not mobile payments either.

Sweden will adapt
I am sure Sweden will embrace mobile payments. They will love it. I mean REALLY love it. And they will deny that they ever said anything ‘au contraire’.

Just like we did taking Swedish Spotify (all the music in the world streaming into your phone) to our hearts. I am sure I heard an old friend say: “Spotify? Nah, my MP3:s works just fine with me.”

We’ll adapt.


More and more consumers are doing their banking on mobile.  It is a common trend all over the world.  And the adoption of mobile banking and mobile payments is obviously much faster in countries with high numbers of unbanked people like in the Philippines.

Earlier this year, another Visible Banking Star from Spain shared his views on the Digital Wallet: ‘Where is my (Digital) Wallet?‘.

So, what do you make of this lack of confidence or interest from the Swedish people?  Do you agree with Martin with his analogy with the worldwide phenomenon, Spotify?

Join the conversation here or on our Facebook page.

What do you think?

Written by Martin Odman

Martin Ödman has been pushing the envelope in interactive media since the days when animated gifs were still to be invented. In late 2009 he started working for a Swedish bank.
Just because he thought it was time for something else in banking. Until now he hasn't come close to something else in any way. But at least he's working on it.

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