In the latest episode of Fintech Tides, we delve deep into the transformative world of fintech, with a special focus on open banking and its practical benefits, particularly in account-to-account payments. Joining us is Kristian Sternros, COO and co-founder of Finshark, a leading company in the open banking sector.

The current payment landscape in 2024

Kristian begins by painting a picture of the diverse payment landscape in 2024. The global arena is dominated by established players like Visa and Mastercard, while regional innovations are burgeoning, particularly in India and Latin America. In Europe, SEPA payments are prominent, and in the Nordics, country-specific preferences shape the payment choices. This variety demands that merchants consider a mix of payment solutions to cater to different consumer needs effectively.

The role and impact of open banking

Open banking, a relatively recent but rapidly evolving field, is reshaping the payment landscape. It offers a unique blend of payment processing and access to banking data, making it a powerful and compliant payment solution. Christian emphasizes that open banking not only facilitates instantaneous transactions but also adheres to stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations, making it an attractive option for merchants.

Understanding account-to-account (A2A) payments

Delving into account-to-account payments, Kristian explains that while paying through bank accounts isn’t new, open banking has elevated this method by allowing transactions through almost any digital channel. This innovation brings significant cost reductions for merchants and a smoother transaction experience for consumers.

The nordic banking initiative: P27

The conversation shifts to the ambitious P27 Nordic banking initiative. Despite its potential, the project was halted due to its complexity. Kristian predicts that its fallout will lead to more localized solutions in individual Nordic countries, with fintechs like Finshark filling the gaps in cross-border payments.

Open banking as a competitive payment solution

In discussing the competitive edge of open banking, Kristian highlights its cost-effectiveness compared to traditional card payments, owing to fewer intermediaries involved. Additionally, he touches upon the importance of the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe, which laid the foundation for open banking by advocating for greater competition and customer data accessibility.

The future of payments: Predictions and wishes

Looking towards the future, Kristian foresees more unified APIs and hopes for advancements like variable recurring payments (VRPs), which could revolutionize subscription services. He also expresses a desire for standardization in customer authentication methods, making digital transactions more seamless across different banks.


Our journey from understanding the basics of open banking to exploring its potential in shaping the future of payments highlights its pivotal role in modern finance. Kristian Sternros, with his deep expertise and passion for fintech, provides a comprehensive view of how open banking is not just a new payment method but a revolutionary approach to financial transactions.