PAYMENTS IN ICELAND
Iceland is a parliamentary republic with a unicameral parliament (Althingi). The parliament has 63 members elected to serve four‑year terms. The president is directly elected every four years.
As a member of the EEA Agreement, the legal framework in which Icelandic financial institutions and companies operate is based on European Union directives. The EEA Agreement also makes the Icelandic financial system a part of the European Single Market area.
The adoption of the revised Payment Services Directive, PSD2, and disruptive technologies have set the stage for digital payments for the digital economy in Iceland. They have accelerated digital payment transformation and mobile payment services, as well as cardless IBAN-based payments directly from bank accounts.
In the last decade, Icelandic consumers have embraced mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT). This change significantly impacts their shopping experience. Consumers become increasingly connected and they have started to purchase anywhere, at any time, from any device.
In addition, new consumer demands are a game changer. Icelandic consumers like digital banking apps with access to all their accounts at different banks in one single app, with the option to make payments directly from their bank account of choice. Additionally, they appreciate more banking services and payment services added to their mobile banking app. Consumer adoption of digital payments in Iceland is driven by minimal cost, secure payments and a high level of user convenience.
Driven by the development of social media and mobile devices, the emergence of permanently connected consumers has impacted their interactions with brands but also their expectations of how to shop using the increasing number of touch points between consumers and merchants, e.g.:
- Using mobile devices in-store to look up products or additional information on the internet
- Using mobile devices in-store to shop at the same merchant or online at another merchant
- Using mobile devices to purchase at home in online shops or scan outdoor for advertised products
- Using mobile apps to shop online, or using QR-codes to bridge from merchant posters to their online shops
The ongoing rollout of a mature online and mobile communication infrastructure is an enabler for digital card payment transformation and for Open Banking payments in Iceland.
In a few years from now, mobile banking apps and mobile payment apps are expected to combine account management, digital payment services, personal finance management and value-added digital services from location finders to digital vouchers.
Cash payments, card payments and cardless payments directly from bank accounts (A2A payments) remain all relevant for Icelandic merchants and heavily used by Icelandic consumers.
This country profile provides an introduction into two competing payment ecosystems in Iceland:
- Card payment ecosystem
- Cardless Open Banking payment ecosystem
STATISTICAL KEY FIGURES FOR 2020 PROVIDED IN THIS PROFILE:
• UPDATED: tables with card business data 2016-2020; growth rates: Y-o-Y, CAGR
• Population, Cards per Capita, Card Value per Capita
• Debit Cards, Credit/Delayed Debit Cards, Total Cards
• Card payments by number and by value, ATV per card, payments per card/year
• ATMs, POS terminals, ATMs/POS terminals per 1 million capita
• ATM withdrawals by number/by value, ATV per withdrawal, TXs per ATM/month
• POS payments by number/by value, ATV per POS payment, TXs per POS/month
• Internet Use, e-payment mix, B2C e-Commerce by value and growth rate
• Issued Card brands by individual major issuer bank
• Accepted card brands by individual major acquirer
• Drill down into the debit card use and credit cards use details
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Version 1.0 - last updated Wednesday 26th January 2022