Development Continues on Cross-Border, Multi-Currency Payment Platform

Nordic financial institutions and fintech companies collaborate to create the interconnected P27 payments platform

Adrian Mountstephens
Development Continues on Cross-Border, Multi-Currency Payment Platform

Recently, Equinix sponsored the NextGen Nordics Webinar, where a panel of payments experts discussed the continuing development of the highly anticipated P27 Nordic Payments Platform, an initiative by six of the largest banks in the Nordics. P27 will establish the first integrated regional platform that allows participating banks, fintech companies and payment processors in the Nordics to transact domestic and cross-border, multi-currency payments instantly, seamlessly and securely.

Consumer expectations for what’s possible with digital payments are on the rise. According to the Mastercard New Payments Index, 84% of consumers expect to buy what they want, when and how they want.[1] While it’s common for the 27 million residents of the four Nordic countries to travel via car, ferry or train to work, visit family and friends, shop or dine out in neighboring countries, what’s not common is the currency used in each country. Citizens in these countries have created their own workaround by setting up bank accounts in multiple countries. That’s where the concept of a unified payments platform comes into play.

Today across the Nordics you can find a Starbucks in every town and order your favorite coffee. If P27 is successful, payments will become as ubiquitous as Starbucks. Citizens in the region will be able to pay via P27 wherever they are and whatever they are doing. The P27 platform will transform how banks process domestic and cross-border payment transactions. Other ecosystem participants such as fintech service providers and digital supply chain companies in retail, manufacturing, insurance, travel, and other industries will benefit from embedding these alternative payment options into their digital experiences.

Webinar- P27 Nordic Payments and Equinix

Watch the on-demand webinar with P27 Nordic Payments and Equinix, to hear from our panel of payments experts discuss the further development of P27, the next steps for the industry, the growth of layer two services and the burgeoning ecosystem.

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During the webinar, Gary Wright, head of research at Finextra, moderated a discussion with Martin Georgzen, chief strategy officer and head of business execution at P27, Antti Karhu, director of payment services with OP Financial Group, and me, the senior manager of payments and banking at Equinix. The panelists shared their perspectives on what’s required for banks to participate in P27 and how private networking capabilities will interconnect the platform participants to manage data traffic securely, reliably and seamlessly.

Recent progress with P27 and platform participants

One of the main challenges a platform provider in financial services must address is meeting regulatory requirements. For P27 challenges include obtaining the clearing licenses needed for each country. The EU Commission recently approved P27 to proceed with building the platform from a competition law perspective, which is an extremely important milestone. The P27 platform is under production in the data centers that will support it.

The financial institutions in Sweden and Denmark are the furthest along in the planning and implementation stages of modernizing their banking systems and IT infrastructure in preparation for their future participation in the P27 platform and ecosystem. Strong collaboration has been key to making swift progress. Implementing cross-border, multi-currency capabilities will also require changes to central banking clearing and settlement systems in each country. This includes adopting ISO 20022, a single standardization approach for methodology, process and repository to be used by all financial standards initiatives.

In Finland, a small bank is doing real-time payments and considers them to be the new normal as they already comprise 50% of their transactions. One of their current challenges is that they find it easier to send funds to non-Nordic countries. P27 aims to make it as easy to send money to another Nordic country as it is to send a text message.

Why P27 and similar platforms matter

P27 will establish the first integrated regional platform that allows participating banks, fintech companies and payment processors in the Nordics to transact domestic and cross-border, multi-currency payments instantly, seamlessly and securely."

The future of banking and payment operations is going to be instant, open and everywhere. P27 will revolutionize payments in the region by making it easier for consumers and businesses to manage their money while bringing efficiencies and scale to the community of organizations connected to the platform. The P27 platform will lead to the emergence of new digital supply chains linking consumers and businesses directly to the platform through a variety of retailers, fintech companies and banks. This will stimulate innovation and economic growth for the region. These new supply chains will use private networking capabilities to interconnect all the participants with each other, ensuring the flow of data between them is secure, fast and reliable. The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 5, a market report by Equinix, reports that interconnection bandwidth is forecast to be 15x larger than the Internet.

Global cross-border payment opportunities

The P27 project is far from the only project with instant cross-border payments on its agenda. Real-time payments are expected to double in 2022, according to Elena Whisler, senior vice president at The Clearing House (TCH), in an interview with PYMNTS.[2]

Financial institutions—like those backing P27—are collaborating around the world to simplify and standardize their payments infrastructure to accommodate global payments. In India, the government established the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system that combines multiple bank accounts into a mobile app for any participating bank. The system merges banking features such as seamless fund routing and merchant payments into a single app, which is used extensively by consumers and businesses.

Once these platforms and systems are in place within countries or regions, the next step will be to connect country- and region-specific platforms worldwide to establish a seamless and secure global ecosystem of payment platforms. Imagine transacting cross-border payments between Montreal and San Francisco or from Singapore to India with your phone, without using a credit or debit card.

The P27 platform will lead to the emergence of new digital supply chains linking consumers and businesses directly to the platform through a variety of retailers, fintech companies and banks. This will stimulate innovation and economic growth for the region."

Equinix plays a key role in supporting global payment platforms

As the world’s digital infrastructure company™, Equinix has a global footprint of more than 230 data centers in 65 global markets, helping ecosystem partners gain proximity to each other in the places they do business together. This includes hosting several payment platforms and systems worldwide. Equinix Fabric™ software-defined interconnection allows businesses to bypass the public internet for seamless and secure transactions with low latency.

Equinix provides a trusted global platform enterprises and service providers rely on to advance their digital-first strategies and equip their digital transformation journeys. On Platform Equinix®, we have interconnected digital ecosystems made up of enterprises and service providers within every industry around the world, including more than 1,800 networks and 3,000 cloud and IT service providers.

View the NextGen Nordics Webinar – P27 replay to learn more about the P27 Nordic Payments platform.

Read the Key trends in payments and banking infrastructure white paper.

 

 

[1] Mastercard New Payments Index: Consumer appetite for digital payments takes off, Press Release, May 4, 2021, Mastercard

[2] Real-Time Payments Expected to Double in 2022, January 4, 2022, PYMNTS

Financial institutions—like those backing P27—are collaborating around the world to simplify and standardize their payments infrastructure to accommodate global payments."