The Central Bank of Iceland is currently developing a domestic payment system that could be utilised if transactions with foreign payment card companies were halted. Gunnar Jakobsson, Deputy Governor of Financial Stability, stated as much to Morgunblaðið newspaper.
The newspaper’s report states that the Central Bank is concerned about foreign ownership and control of card payment systems in Iceland, something that was touched on in a letter to the National Security Council in 2019. The Council has met four times regarding the matter.
The Central Bank owns an interbank system that secures transfers from deposit accounts between credit institutions. However, the credit card payment systems used within Iceland are is in the hands of private companies.
The country’s three payment card companies have been sold from Icelandic to foreign owners in the last two years. Borgun was sold to the Brazilian company Salt Pay, and Valitor and Korta to the Israeli company Rapyd.