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NextGen Nordics 2024: NPC promoting innovation and harmonisation in the Nordics

NextGen Nordics, Finextra’s annual payments event, kicked off on April 23 2024 in Stockholm, Sweden, bringing together an array of experts and leaders in the Nordics payments industry.

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NextGen Nordics 2024: NPC promoting innovation and harmonisation in the Nordics


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The conference dives into the world of payments, set on exploring the innovation of payments infrastructure in the Nordics that has driven digital innovation and growth. The event started off with an opening speech from Finextra’s head of research Gary Wright, and a keynote presentation by secretary general of the Nordics Payments Council (NPC), Camilla Akerman.

Wright stated that Finextra Research will continue to create a collaborative dialogue in the industry and plans to host an AI conference later this year, to explore the potential of AI over time in financial services. He also announced that Finextra Inc. will soon be launched in the USA to promote further coverage of the US market, with head of content Madhvi Mavadiya becoming the VP of the new company.

“What I find with North America is that they are not driven by the same amount of regulation and legislation that we deal with in Europe, but they all take the best practices that they see emerge from it and put that into the vast market that is the US and Canada. We feel that there's much more to be done by having a presence there, understanding the nuances, and being at the party when it comes to the discussions that are going on globally and regionally.”

Wright concluded by emphasising how efficiency, security, and sustainability that define the Nordic payments industry and this conference offers an opportunity to learn from the past, referencing the hot topic last year, which was the downfall of P27.

In her opening keynote, Akerman introduced the NPC as a council that brings together payments associations from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland to discuss and explore the possibilities of payments infrastructure and standardise transaction processes throughout the region.

Akerman highlighted how payments infrastructure modernisation can improve efficiency and data quality, and harmonising standards across Nordic countries will promote interoperability an innovation. She pointed to governance such as SEPA and ISO20022 that create a more comprehensive and structured information exchange for payments transactions that support interoperability.

Akerman outlined what was learned from the P27 Nordic Payments initiative, such as how the scope of the project was overambitious and task prioritisation was not organised, that they needed clearer regulatory guidance and required more time put into navigating compliance, and there were significant challenges in meeting delivery deadlines. She noted that there is progress to be made and the industry will forge ahead knowing what they have done wrong in the past.

“We are seeing something interesting happening with two central banks in Sweden and in Denmark that will start using the TIPS system, which is the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement system that is used today for simple instant payments, but will soon become mandatory for banks. In November this year, the first transaction will be sent in under one of the NPC schemes,” Akerman stated.

She continued that new payment infrastructure organisations are working to revolutionise instant payments in the Nordics, operating under the NPC rulebook and working towards a standardised Nordics payments region aligned in the same mission and values.

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