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Mobile overtakes cash as Nordic consumers drive recovery in face-to-face payments, according to new Nets report


​A clear majority of Nordic consumers still prefer to shop in physical environments rather than online, taking part in an experience where they can often see, feel and test the products before buying.

Nets, part of Nexi Group, the European PayTech, has published its Nordic Payment Report 2022, revealing a strong recovery for face-to-face payments, particularly in hospitality and transport sectors, as mobile payments gain ground at physical points of sale, pushing cash into third-place in terms of consumer preferences.


Report highlights:

  1. 80% of Nordic consumers still prefer cards for face-to-face payments
    1. Cards linked to loyalty solutions are increasingly driving card use
  2. 10% of Nordic consumers favour mobile payments – a historic moment as mobile overtakes cash as the second most popular payment method in the Nordics
  3. Only 5% of consumers prefer to pay in cash and in Sweden, an astounding 27% of consumers say they now do not use cash at all
  4. ~70% of Nordic consumers value contactless payments "highly" or "very highly", compared to less than 20% in 2018


After a difficult 2020, stores that sell physical products are finally enjoying better times, with year-on-year growth for Nordic countries averaging 7.2% for H1 2022. Consumers increasingly want choice in how to pay, with a preference across the Nordics for card or mobile payments. Cash registers are increasingly being replaced by terminals in the actual store, as well as mobile devices – so-called SoftPOS solutions – which frees sales staff to focus on customer service and advice.  


Jeppe Juul-Andersen, Head of Commercial LAKA in Nets, said, "We aim to see continued improvement across 2022 for brick-and-mortar retail and other physical merchants, as consumers return from COVID-19 restrictions. However, we could now see a tough few months ahead of us due to energy prices, inflation and interest rates increase. Successful retailers will continue to adapt to consumer payment preferences as mobile payments gain more ground and cash continues to decline."


Omnichannel and unified commerce have seen an increase in recent years by Nordic consumers, and both concepts offer many opportunities for retailers and consumers. Click & Collect payment methods are being used by over 50% of Nordic consumers, with 69% of Norway consumers using this option. Two thirds of consumers in Sweden and Norway are using Scan & Pay methods to pay quickly and avoid queuing in store, but less than a third of Danish and Finnish consumers are currently doing so.


Yet speed is also valued when it comes to payment authentication. Verifying identity through a consumer's fingerprint or facial recognition is becoming more common, but may take some more time to really break through. On average, almost 50% of Nordic consumers currently prefer authentication via PIN, but mobile Bank-ID is favoured by 30% of consumers in Sweden, fingerprints are preferred by 13% in Denmark, and facial recognition is becoming more widely used (preferred by 11%) in Denmark and Norway.


In-store payment growth across retail sectors in the Nordics is as follows (H1 2022 vs H1 2021):

    • High-street retail: +7.2%
    • Grocery stores: -2.8%
    • Restaurants and cafes: +69.3%
    • Transport: +30%
    • Services: +35.4%  


The report also explores consumers' views of payment brands, insights into authentication methods including biometrics, as well as digital receipts and loyalty programs. The full report can be downloaded here:


Nets Spending Index

Nets' Spending Index – the growth data – is based on card transactions in physical trade. The basis consists of many million card transactions in each country and active points of sale in both years are compared.

About Nets  

Nets is part of Nexi Group – the European PayTech with scale, capabilities, and geographic reach to drive the transition to a cashless Europe. We are committed to supporting people and businesses of all sizes, transforming the way people pay and businesses accept payments. By simplifying payments and providing the most innovative and reliable solutions we enable businesses and financial institutions to better serve their customers, build closer relationships, and to grow together. For more information please visit: or