Martin Ogarp, Head of Cards Centre of Excellence at Nordea Bank, talks point-of-sale payments, how Fidesmo brings fun to contactless, and why payment wearables fit the Nordea brand.
Hi Martin, tell us a bit about Nordea’s collaboration with Fidesmo
We’ve been working with Fidesmo for a few years now, providing Fidesmo Pay services to our customers in the same way that we offer Google Wallet, Apple Pay and more. We have a philosophy at the bank that if our customers want a service and we can easily set it up, then we can provide it, and analyze and review the response.
So, it was easy to launch Fidesmo Pay?
It was, yes. We were one of the first banks in Europe to set up tokenization for contactless device payments, which we developed for the launch of SamsungPay in 2017. Once you’ve built that initial IT framework and made the investments, adding additional contactless payment providers is relatively easy, whether it’s Fitbit, Google, or Fidesmo Pay.
Do you offer all these payment services?
Yes, we give our customers the choice to pay with iOS or Android devices, their fitness trackers, or, in the case of Fidesmo, a passive wearable, i.e., one that doesn’t require a battery. Then, of course, customers can use regular payment cards for contactless payments. Around 75% of payments in Sweden today are everyday, in-store payments made via a terminal card reader. It’s a big market, which is why we offer so many options to our customers.
You’ve done some interesting marketing campaigns with Fidesmo and their wearable partner Tapster…
That’s right, we did some promotions with the Nordea Tennis Open. This year all Nordea staff in Sweden received a payment keyring as a Christmas gift. And we’re also using payment wearables as a give-away to customers. Through the wearables, we can offer them something different that fits perfectly with our brand, “Your financial partner that helps with your everyday finances”. And the wearables are really appreciated. Most people who have been given one use it.
Why do you think the adoption level is so high among these users?
Contactless payments are convenient and highly secure. But using a wearable to make them adds an element of fun to everyday payments, which you don’t get when you use a card or phone. You can choose your favorite form factor, ring, jewellery, or key ring. As a parent, you can hand a wearable over to your kids without worrying about them losing your card or its details. Personally, I like the fact that I can easily pay for public transport without getting my wallet or phone out of my pocket.
Lastly, how do you see the contactless market progressing?
Contactless has become second nature to many people. Consumers still appreciate its convenience even when they pass the 50 Euro limit set by the EU and have to enter their PIN code – something that happens far more often today due to the rising cost of living. Therefore, I expect we will continue to see an increase in the number of people making contactless payments. However, we’ll also see growth in mobile commerce as stores look to take payments away from point-of-sale and into their own apps. Peer-to-peer providers are also looking to gain a stronger foothold in the everyday payment space. It’s exciting times and we must ensure that we remain relevant for our customers.