Norges Bank

Press release

Sharp increase in the use of electronic payment services

The number of payment transactions via PC/Internet more than doubled from 1999 to 2000 and the number of online banking contracts rose by about 75 per cent. For the first time, the increased use of Internet banking has led to a reduction in the use of mail giros. The use of payment cards increased by a good 20 per cent from 1999 to 2000, and Norwegians are among the world’s most enthusiastic users of payment cards. Due to frequent use of payment cards and other inexpensive payments services, costs connected with payment transactions have generally remained low.

Higher prices for most services

Prices for electronic payment services for private customers showed little change from January 2000 to January 2001. On average, prices for ATM withdrawals and electronic services aimed at the corporate market rose markedly from 2000 to 2001, but the increase did not involve all banks.

The price gap between electronic payment services and paper-based services continued to widen in 2000, although the percentage price increase for paper-based services was moderate. The large price differences primarily reflect differences in the cost of producing various payment services. The increased supply of low-priced electronic payment services, above all payment cards, has made it possible for most people to make payment transactions at lower cost than earlier. The average price for the services that people actually use decreased by about 50 øre from 1994 to NOK 4 in 2000. Most people pay their bills by giro, and the average price for a giro transaction increased by 20 øre from 1994 to NOK 5.75 in 2000. This increase of 3 ¾ per cent over six years was far less than consumer price inflation, which was 14 per cent over the same period.

Number of giro payments over the Internet doubled from 1999 to 2000

The number of payments made via PC/the Internet increased by 20 million transactions from 1999 to just under 35 million in 2000. In the same period, the number of online banking contracts rose by about 400,000 to 935,000 at end-2000. Norges Bank expects the introduction of e-billing to further increase the use of Internet banking. The number of telephone giros remained at 29 million, unchanged from 1999, while the number of mail giros declined by 17 million to 90 million transactions in 2000.

Steadily increasing use of payment cards

Payment cards are the most popular payment instrument in Norway and accounted for 385 million transactions in 2000 or more than half of all non-cash payments. From 1999 to 2000, the number of payment card transactions rose by a good 20 per cent, due entirely to the increase in the use of payment cards for the purchase of goods and services. The average bank card purchase amount was NOK 380 in 2000.

Fewer ATM and at-the-counter withdrawals

The number of ATM withdrawals has levelled off the last two years. The total amount withdrawn from ATMs continued to rise, however, and the average cash withdrawal was NOK 1000 in 2000. The number of cash withdrawals from payment terminals is nearly equal to ATM withdrawals. However, the average amount withdrawn from payment terminals was only NOK 360 in 2000. The number of cash withdrawals at the counter in banks and post offices is falling, but the average amount withdrawn is relatively high, more than NOK 4,300 in 2000. The value of cash withdrawals at the counter thus accounts for half the total value of cash withdrawals in 2000.


Press telephone: +47 21 49 09 30

Published 31 May 2001 09:00