🙌 In praise of the Norwegian infrastructure


  • 🤔 But it could be better...

  • 👏 Debt register expanded

  • 🚗 The future of cars is a subscription nightmare

  • 🧮 Estimates

🙌 In praise of the Norwegian infrastructure

This week, Tom Staavi – Information director in Finance Norway, wrote that the financial industry and the Norwegian authorities receive far too little praise for the digitization that has taken place in Norway over the years. It is a good reminder of all the things that have become much easier, more efficient, and flexible and all the great work that is done!

He illustrates it with a story of him and his son selling a moped:

You fill out a digital purchase contract on the phone, and both parties sign their digital copy with BankID.

For re-registration, you log into The Norwegian Public Roads Administration with BankID, press the "send sales message" button, then all vehicles registered to you appear.

Then you select the vehicle you want to send a sales notification, and your phone and social security numbers are already entered. You then enter the buyer's social security number, surname, and telephone number, and information about the person concerned is entered.

Then, with one click, you confirm that you want to transfer ownership. The sales notification is submitted.

Within seconds, the buyer is told that he must register as the new owner. One BankID-login and the Ownership has been transferred, and the register has been updated.

The only thing remaining is that the buyer makes the payment (either via Vipps or the excellent payment-rails system).

Think about all the parties involved:

  • Norwegian Consumer Council (purchase contract)

  • BankID (electronic ID)

  • The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Car register and sales message)

  • The Norwegian Tax Administration / National Population Register (For filling out social security numbers etc.)

  • Vipps and banks (Payment for the transfer)

In other countries, this can't be done with a digital solution in ~10 minutes. You are talking about a week-long process where the registration takes a lot of time, and you receive the payment in cash.

🤔 But it could be better...

But as always, it could still be better! And we wouldn't be where we are today without many of us questioning the status quo. Beth Stensen, CEO of Netlife, has written a blog post on what she would do if she were a director of the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency. When it comes to finance, I have many pet-peeves that I would like to solve:

  • Why is it so cumbersome to change banks?

  • Why do we have so many account numbers? Couldn't we have one and choose where the money was forwarded?

  • Why does it matter which bank issues BankID?

  • Why has no one solved couple economics in a good way?

  • Why is it not clear what my pension is?

  • Why is there no standard solution for managing and paying for subscription services?

  • Why do I have to re-enter credit-card information on websites when my physical card is renewed?

  • Why do you have to fill out information for 10 minutes to apply for a loan when most of this data should be available for banks?

  • Why doesn't the debt register store all debt information for a person?

👏 Debt register expanded

Speaking of the debt register, Norges Bank has gone through some of the data from the debt register and compared it with income and status in the housing market. Some interesting findings that stood out to me:

  • People with a low income and without a home are most likely to have a large amount of consumer debt

  • Those who own a home and have particularly exposed consumer debt tend to have a high loan-to-value ratio on the house.

  • The lowest income quantile accounts for just under 5 percent of total debt but almost 10 percent of consumer debt.

🚗 The future of cars is a subscription nightmare.

We've talked a lot about the subscription of car features during the last few years. It seems like heated seats, remote start key bobs, and other creature comforts will likely be subject to monthly or annual fees in the coming years.

It makes sense since cars are more full of computers and software than ever. This has made it possible for automakers to add new features or patch problems on the fly with over-the-air software updates and, at the same time, presented them with new ways of making money. Last year, General Motors revealed it earned over $2 billion in in-car subscription service revenue alone. The question remains if customers will accept paying companies to remove a software block on existing functionality. Maybe this is why all car providers are dabbling with car-subscription services.

🧮 Estimates

That's it for this week 👋

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Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X