​The new national cooperation body for the development of retail payments, the Payments Council, convened for the first time today, 9 January 2014. The Payments Council is a forum that brings together payment service users, providers and authorities, and its purpose is to support the use of advanced, internationally compatible payment methods that are efficient for society as a whole.

Pentti Hakkarainen, Chairman of the Payments Council and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Finland, emphasised the importance of the reliability and efficiency of payments systems particularly in the current changing operating environment.

‘The reliability and efficiency of payment systems depends on smooth cooperation between all the participants in the payment chain. The purpose of the Payments Council is to ensure that the views of the users and providers of payment services as well as the authorities are taken into account in discussions on future payment solutions. This is particularly important in view of the ongoing internationalisation of payment systems,’ underlined Mr Hakkarainen.

The Payments Council analyses and assesses changes in the operating environment, ongoing payments initiatives and the impacts of regulation. It also contributes to the development of payments by publishing assessments and conclusions, for example at the annual Payments Forum. The Payments Council will publish an annual report on its activities. The practical organisation of its work is the responsibility of the Bank of Finland.

The Payments Council has decided to conduct the following studies during its first year of operation: 1) the current payments landscape and trends in Finland and internationally; 2) payments and ongoing initiatives on the digital economy.

For more information on the Payments Forum, please contact Pentti Hakkarainen, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Finland, tel. +358 10 831 2002.

The following bodies participate in the work of the Payments Council: the Confederation of Finnish Industries, the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics (FiCom), the Federation of Finnish Financial Services, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), the Finnish Commerce Federation, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, Nordea Bank Finland, OP-Pohjola Group, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Finland.