Norges Bank

Press release

Use of cards and internet banking continues to rise

Changes in the use of different payment instruments have resulted in a further increase in the efficiency of the Norwegian payment system, said Deputy Governor Jarle Bergo when he presented the at a press conference today. The use of electronic means of payment continues to increase, while paper-based methods are used less and less. There is a pronounced increase in the use of Internet banking and payment cards, but growth is strongest for electronic invoicing.Annual Report on Payment Systems

Use of cards still increasing strongly

The number of payments by means of cards increased by 12 per cent, to 756 million transactions in 2005. This is 208 card payments per person aged 16 or over. Although the use of international cards and national credit cards has increased, the Norwegian BankAxept card accounts for 87 per cent of card payments. The use of cards in Norway is higher than in most other countries in the world. At end-2005 there were 74 000 points of sale with terminals for BankAxept cards.

Fewer cash withdrawals

The overall number and value of cash withdrawals declined somewhat in 2005. Both the number and the value of withdrawals from ATMs remained stable. The number of over-the-counter cash withdrawals continued to fall sharply. There were also somewhat fewer withdrawals in connection with purchases (cashback), while the amount per withdrawal rose.

Small changes in list prices

Following sharp increases in prices for retail customers in recent years, prices for paper-based services only showed minor changes in 2005. Prices for electronic giro payments increased somewhat, while payments with cards at retail outlet terminals became less costly on average. Prices for ATM withdrawals from other banks' ATMs increased by over 20 per cent. Prices for cross-border payments declined in 2005. As a result of increased use of electronic services, payment mediation is growing cheaper for both banks and customers.

Although a few banks provide services free of charge, the general rule is that users pay for services - and they pay least for electronic services. Customers are therefore motivated to choose the most efficient solutions.

Norges Bank compiles list prices, and therefore does not take into account the discounts that customers obtain by participating in various customer programmes.

Norges Bank monitors risk in the interbank system

The Annual Report on Payment Systems is an important part of Norges Bank's oversight of the payment system. A chapter on Norges Bank's oversight of interbank clearing and settlement systems has been included for the first time in the report for 2005. This work is based on international recommendations.

Norway has an efficient payment system

The report compares important features of the Norwegian payment system with those of systems in a number of other countries. The overview shows that Norway has a well developed, modern payment system. EU has prepared draft common legislation for payments in Europe which will probably be relevant for EEA countries. The European banking industry is also working to coordinate and improve the efficiency of payment systems in the EU countries.

For more information, please contact: Grete ├śwre, Assistant Director, Tel. +47 22 31 66 83 or Harald Haare, Senior Economist, Tel. +47 22 31 65 84.

The report is available in Norwegian and a printed copy can be ordered from Norges Bank.

Price statistics are also available on Norges Bank's website.

The English version will be available on our website by the end of May 2006.

Contact:

Press telephone: +47 21 49 09 30
Email: presse@norges-bank.no

Published 3 May 2006 10:00