Business overview

Bits AS is the financial infrastructure company of the bank and finance industry in Norway. Our job is to ensure a safe and efficient payment infrastructure for financial payment transactions and related information.

Payment infrastructures enable the movement of money, transactions and information between different banks. It allows customers to withdraw money from any cash machine regardless of their bank provider, and it allows for payment transfers to take place between any account and any bank. Therefore, payment infrastructures serve not only the banks, but the entire Norwegian society.

The Norwegian payment infrastructure is one of the best in the world. It safeguards user-friendly, cost efficient and stable solutions for the Norwegian society and provides an opportunity for banks to offer reliable services to their customers. This infrastructure is a vital part of the Norwegian society – covering everyone, from individual customers to local businesses, the financial sector and society as a whole.

An efficient and solid infrastructure strengthens competitive capabilities within industries, ensures good solutions for financial management within the public sector and offers banks the best opportunities for developing leading payment solutions for their customers.

That is why our work is of critical importance. Bits will ensure that Norway continues to stand at the forefront with effective payment transaction services and transaction related information, both locally and on an international level. The payment infrastructure should be robust enough to safeguard the needs of banks and society for efficient payment systems, in the present as well as in the future.

About us

Bits AS was established April 1, 2016 as the finance sector’s new infrastructure company and is based on the merger between Bankenes Standardiseringskontor (BSK) and Finance Norway’s specialist division for payment transactions. The company is owned and governed by Finance Norway.

Bits was founded as part of the finance industry’s common ambition to strenghten the development of the national payment infrastructure. As a result, we are now better equipped to handle future challenges related to new technology, industry developments embracing new payment institutions and international regulations.

The Norwegian infrastructure for payment systems is based on a principle of self-governance. Bits responsibility is to ensure a strong and sustainable infrastructure for the Norwegian society that maintains governmental and regulatory confidence of the self-governance principle.

How we operate

We establish, maintain and develop Norwegian standards and specifications that are used in the national payment infrastructure. We develop these standards and specifications within a framework that is based on formal industry policy decisions and they govern everyone responsible of daily operational activities and decision making processes in financial institutions. Likewise, we are responsible for establishing, maintaining and managing agreements and regulations between financial institutions within the common infrastructure, as well as negotiating and managing agreements with the suppliers of technical solutions for the common operational infrastructure.

Bits is the official operator of NICS (Norwegian Interbank Clearing System) which is the Norwegian interbank clearing system for the local currency in Norway (Norwegian Krone). NICS is used by all the banks that take part in the financial sector’s common infrastructure for payment systems, and is subject of concession from Norges Bank, the central bank of Norway.

We work closely with Finance Norway, the authorities and other relevant stakeholders in areas relevant for the financial industry. We are also a driving force for innovation within the field of payment systems, including increased digitalization in the payments area.

In order to manage the Norwegian financial sector’s infrastructure in the best possible way, 6 expert advisory panels is established. The work in the expert advisory panels are chaired by team members from Bits. Expert advisory panels are established for

  • Interbank and customer transactions
  • Payments
  • Infrastructure
  • Legal
  • International payments and regulations
  • Clearing and settlement

Bits represents the Norwegian bank- and financial industry in a range of national and international forums, such as; Standard Norge, Pan Nordic Card Association (PNC), European Payment Council (EPC), International Standardization committee (ISO TC68), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) og European Committee for Standardization (CEN), Payments Committee – European Savings Banks Group (ESBG) og Payments Systems Committee – European Banking Federation (EBF).

 

Board of Directors

Boardmember Personal deputy
Chairman Eldar Skjetne
(SpareBank 1 Banksamarbeidet)
Geir Bruflot
(SpareBank 1 Banksamarbeidet)
Deputy chairman Jon-Kristian Prietz (DNB) Peer Theien (DNB)
Mathias Martinsen (Nordea) Marte Kopperstad (Nordea)
Lorang Eriksen (Eika Gruppen) Erlend Sundvor (Eika Gruppen)
Bent Eidem (Danske Bank) Gry Haugo Killingstad (Handelsbanken)
Magne Angelshaug (Skandiabanken) Einar Storsul (Landkreditt Bank)
Jørn Torsvik (Sparebanken Vest) Kjell Engen (Sparebanken Øst)
Bente Landsnes (independent) N/A
Mette Kamsvåg (independent) N/A