The Federation of Finnish Financial Services has estimated that as many as 80 percent of Finns pay their bills online. Even among seniors, internet banking has become a popular means of handling bills.
In recent times banks have tended to steer their customers towards their web services: paying bills at the teller is subject to high service charges and not even all tellers handle cash transactions.
According to Pekka Koskela, Oulu area manager for Nordea Bank, few customers currently still use teller services for paying bills.
“This is a main branch in Oulu and one of the largest in Finland and you could say we handle just a few bills every week,” he added.
500 payment ATMs left
Customers who don’t have internet connections have had to resort to other options for settling their accounts. Nordea, for example, encourages its customers to use self-service payment points, although it has eliminated a large number of them.
“We refurbished our self-service payment stations a few years ago. There are about 500 in Finland and there is still strong demand for them so we will keep them,” Koskela explained.
Customers who use direct debit arrangements and the self-service payment stations account for fewer than 10 percent of all banking clients.
However a new payment service provided by Tapiola Bank in cooperation with the R-kioski chain has attracted a surprisingly large number of users, particularly the elderly.
Jan Karlsson, business manager of the retail group Rautakirja, which runs the R-kioski chain, said the response to the kiosk payment service has been somewhat of a surprise.
“It seems clear that there are some people who simply won't use online banking,” he declared.
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