The Bank of Finland is responsible for the availability and issuance of cash in Finland. In addition to domestic cash supply, the Bank of Finland's duties include tasks related to the development and security of payment systems.

Reliability and security of the financial system are prerequisites for the functioning of the economy. The Bank of Finland provides payment system and collateral management services for its counterparties and participates in the development of these services.

The changing operating environment for payments and cross-country differences in payment practices create challenges for the development of uniform euro area systems and practices.

The Bank of Finland is participating in the transition in the payments landscape through its role in oversight, by maintaining the reliability and efficiency of payment and settlement systems in Finland.

Platform economy extending to the financial sector – new risks to financial stability

Big tech companies – for example Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Alibaba and Tencent – which operate by the principles of the platform economy have now begun to branch out into financial services and payments.

The big tech companies exert influence in the financial sector also by providing cloud services to banks and other traditional entities.

This trend is still of minor importance to the financial sector, but due to their size, these entities have to be taken seriously from the outset, as they have the potential to change the structure of the financial sector and, at the same time, create risks to financial stability.

Contactless payment reduced cash payments, instant payment increasingly popular

The financial sector must be able to provide critical payment services also in the event of temporary disruptions in normal payments traffic. Digitalisation increases the importance of contingency measures for addressing cyber threats.

In 2019, the Bank of Finland’s Payments Council examined the current situation of instant payments and the challenges of introducing them in Finland. Instant payments enable the transfer of funds between accounts in a couple of seconds, around the clock.

Contactless payment has reduced the volume of cash payments in Finland. The availability of cash services at bank branches continued to decrease in 2019, but the availability of cashback services and local circulation of cash at nearly 3,000 retail stores increased in euro terms.

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Global big tech companies are entering the financial sector