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Norway’s banks look to merge payment services

A group of Norwegian banks are preparing to merge their payments systems in an effort to protect themselves from an expected challenge from Silicon Valley.

According to Reuters, DNB, banking group Eika, Sparebank 1 Gruppen and others has agreed to merge the Vipps, BankAxept and BankID payment systems, aiming to have a new venture up and running by next August.

The three bank-owned systems are focussed on different payments areas: Vipps is a mobile payments app; Bank Axept is the country’s debit card service; and BankID is an online authentication platform.

While the merger is preliminary as ownership stakes are hammered out, the move is seen as necessary if the banks are to keep hold of their place at the centre of the digital payments market.

From next year, regulations are changing to enable firms from outside of the industry to facilitate payments, opening up the possibility of challenge from local tech firms as well as Apple, Google and Facebook.

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