The use of the contactless payment function of cards grew by 45% from the previous year.

Photograph: Stock photo

A total of over three billion payments were made from Finnish bank accounts in 2019, according to the recent statistics released by the Bank of Finland. Of this, approximately 65% was accounted for by card payments and approximately 35% by credit transfers; only 0.04% was accounted for by other payments.

In value terms, however, most of the money moved in credit transfers: in 2019, credit transfers amounted to €2,747 billion, while €54 billion was paid using cards.


In 2019, the number of card payments grew by more than 6% from the previous year, and the use of the contactless payment function of cards, in particular, showed a significant increase following the raising of the upper limit of contactless payments to €50 in April 2019.

The number of credit transfers made from Finnish accounts increased, in turn, by nearly 9% from 2018. As electronic payments continued to become more common, the use of cash declined further, which was reflected in, for example, a decrease in the total value of cash withdrawals. During 2019, Finns withdrew cash to an estimated value of €13.2 billion, which is 9% less than in the previous year.

Contactless payments exceeded payments with PIN code

In 2019, Finnish cards were used to make payments nearly two billion times, of which 94% were made at a physical point of sale and 6% as remote payments online. During 2019, for the first time, more contactless payments were made than card payments with a PIN code: 913 million contactless payments were made, while there were 908 million payments made with a PIN code. The use of the contactless payment function of cards grew by 45% from the previous year.

In addition, the value of purchases made by contactless payments nearly doubled from 2018, exceeding €10 billion in 2019 (accounting for 20% of the total value of card payments). At the end of 2019, approximately 90% of payment cards were equipped with the contactless payment function.

E-commerce payments grew by nearly a fifth

In addition to contactless card payments, remote card payments also increased significantly. Remote card payments refer to card payments initiated using a computer or mobile device. Their value grew by more than a third from the previous year to €4.8 billion in 2019.

Most online purchases, however, are still paid for with the online payment buttons provided by banks—by credit transfers authenticated with online banking IDs. Payments initiated with the online payment buttons amounted to €8.6 billion in 2019, which is 11% more than in the previous year. Based on these, the total value of payments made in e-commerce rose to €13.4 billion in 2019, an increase of nearly 19% from 2018.

Of this, remote card payments accounted for approximately 36% and payments made by an online payment button for approximately 64%. The proportion of payments made by an online payment button declined, however, by 5 percentage points from the previous year.

Finns withdrew over €13 billion in cash

In 2019, an estimated €13.2 billion in cash was withdrawn—an average of approximately €2,400 per Finn. This is nearly 9% less than in the previous year. Most cash was withdrawn at ATMs: a total of €10.9 billion in cash was withdrawn using cards issued in Finland, which accounted for 83% of all cash withdrawals.

In addition, €2.1 billion in cash was withdrawn at bank branches and €0.2 billion at retail checkouts in 2019. According to the Bank of Finland’s consumer survey, approximately 7% of Finns used cash as their primary means of payment for buying daily consumer goods in 2019, and approximately 9% stated that they used both cash and a card equally often.