The development of various new methods of payment is one of the biggest global trends affecting commerce. Young consumers, in particular, are interested in contactless and mobile payment and the use of payment service companies. Especially small stores, however, do not possess the skills and resources needed to meet these expectations. This is why Finnish commerce sector companies should be supported, so that they will not get trampled by foreign competitors in development trends.

The Finnish Commerce Federation has surveyed the views of consumers and companies on various payment methods. The survey reveals that particularly young consumers are open to new payment methods. According to the responses received in the survey, consumers perceive payment service companies in online purchases and contactless and mobile payment in physical stores as fast methods of payment. Particularly those under 35 would like to increase their use. In physical stores, purchases are usually still most often paid for with a debit card or cash. The majority of consumers would, indeed, like to see the use of cash to remain unchanged, even if it is not considered a very effortless or fast method in comparison to contactless payment. Surprisingly, though, its is perceived as safe.

The responses provided by companies, on the other hand, reveal that more than 90 per cent of brick-and-mortar stores are happy with their current payment methods. The vast majority of them are planning to increase payment alternatives to mobile payment over the next two years. Particularly small specialty goods stores that employ fewer than 10 people do not display enthusiasm for new payment methods. Only 19 per cent of micro-enterprises intend to expand their payment methods to mobile payment.

This is understandable, since stores’ decisions and choices are heavily influenced by safety and cost considerations. This is why the rapid adoption of new payment methods by way of a trial is difficult, especially for small companies.

Two-thirds of larger companies in the commerce sector – companies that employ at least 10 people – are planning to introduce new methods of mobile payment in their physical stores.

“Payment methods that are easy for the consumer are developed continuously. If small companies cannot keep up with current developments, they are in danger of getting trampled by both large chains and overseas e-commerce,” says Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation.

This is also a challenge for Finnish service providers. So far, they have been unable to provide commerce with comprehensive solutions that would allow the integration of various systems and the automation of functions.

“Many stores are even unaware of the possibility of integrating different kinds of systems and functions, because their system providers do not offer such solutions,” says Kurjenoja.

A failed payment transaction can drive customers away

The Finnish Commerce Federation’s survey also asked about consumers’ experiences of online payment. According to the responses, more than 40 per cent of online shoppers have interrupted their shopping at the payment stage during the past year. The main reason for such interruptions was that the customer was unable to find their preferred payment method from the range of payment methods offered by the online store. Women under 50 were particularly quick to interrupt the payment process for this reason.

“It is very important for online stores to know that a lack of the desired payment method is the most common reason people have for interrupting their purchase. Especially so since most of those who interrupt the process do not buy the product at all or buy it from a competitor,” says Kurjenoja.

Technical failures also continue to be a reason for interruption, and moreover surprisingly often – 30 per cent of interruptions were attributed to them. It seems to be perceived as particularly annoying by online shoppers over 50 and by those who most often pay with debit and credit features.

Finnish payment technology threatens to fall behind in development

What concerns Juhani Pekkala, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation, is that both Finnish financial technology enterprises (or FinTech companies) and part of the stores threaten to fall behind the vanguard of the change in payment methods. According to him, the Finnish Commerce Federation’s payment method survey clearly indicates current service providers’ inability to support the operations of domestic commerce to a sufficient degree.

“If the service providers and their services cannot solve the system problems of domestic commerce, nor is the commerce sector up to international competition,” says Pekkala.

“We should build a network of different kinds of operators around the commerce sector, one which would help both commerce and various service providers to develop and compete on the global market. This should be one of the government’s key projects,” says Pekkala.

Further information:

Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)40 820 5378,

The Finnish Commerce Federation represents commerce – the largest sector of economic life. Commerce employs around 300,000 people in Finland. The Federation has around 7,000 member companies and represents both retail and wholesale commerce in industry policy and labour market lobbying.