Bank of Lithuania one of the first in Europe to offer SEPA instant payments

Nov 21, 2017
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The Bank of Lithuania has expanded the capacities of its CENTROlink payment system to become one of the first locations in Europe where payment service providers can offer instant payments to their clients. This cutting-edge innovation will allow payments to be executed 24/7 throughout the year on weekdays and holidays, with funds credited instantly.

“The promotion and implementation of payment innovations that bring benefits to both consumers and businesses is one of our strategic directions,” explains Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania. “Both domestic and foreign payment service providers are showing keen interest in what CENTROlink, the Bank of Lithuania’s new payment system, can offer,” Mr Jurgilas continues. “Accessing CENTROlink through the infrastructure of the central bank allows them to cut out the middleman and reach Europe’s multibillion-euro payments market with no difficulty.”

The new instant payment solution has been added to CENTROlink as part of the first wave of pan-European adherence to a new Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) scheme. From 21 November instant payments will be accessible in 8 countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria. Eventually the service will be available across SEPA, in all 34 European countries. Funds will be credited instantly not only in these countries but also between them.

“How soon the instant payment service gains momentum depends solely on the readiness of the payment service providers,” points out Mr Jurgilas. “Yet we can already anticipate that over the next few years it will not only become part of our everyday lives, but also the only fully-fledged alternative to cash and payment cards.”

CENTROlink offers the widest range of SEPA services of any payment system in the region: credit transfers (SCT), direct debit (SDD) and instant payments (SCT Inst).

CENTROlink is part of Lithuania’s sustained efforts to develop a FinTech-friendly regulatory and supervisory ecosystem. Fostering innovations in the financial sector is one of the Bank of Lithuania’s strategic directions for 2017–2020. Together with other state authorities, the Bank of Lithuania is aiming to create an environment that will attract new FinTech companies and encourage them to incubate new products in the country.

The Bank of Lithuania has implemented a one-stop shop in terms of meetings and consultations with potential financial market participants. Information on the licensing opportunities in Lithuania is available on the Bank of Lithuania’s website in the Newcomer section.

Lithuania has already introduced several measures directed at financial institutions which are unique in Europe. These include an exceptionally fast authorisation process and the broadest choice of business models, ranging from e-money or payment institutions to specialised banks.

Furthermore, companies designing innovative financial products and business solutions have the opportunity to test them out using the Bank of Lithuania’s innovation-friendly “regulatory sandbox.”

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