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Today, the Council of Latvijas Banka approved amendments to "Latvijas Banka's Procedure for the Use of the Proxy Registry "Instant Links"", thus promoting a wider use of the Registry in innovative payment services.

Latvijas Banka has developed and maintains the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" storing the links between the credit institutions' customer account IBANs and mobile phone numbers. The Registry also stores other identifiers linked to customer accounts (e.g. e-mail address, ID card number) that can be easily used for making instant payments. The Proxy Register "Instant Links" can be used for executing instant payments as well as other payments, including intra-credit institution payments, more easily.

To promote wider availability of the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" and the related payment services, the possibilities of using the information entered in the Registry have been extended, providing that it can be used for the preparation of various types of payments including payment requests. This will enable merchants of Latvia and other countries to use the modern payment infrastructure maintained by Latvijas Banka to provide new payment services and modernise the existing ones. Besides, Estonian credit institutions are soon expected to join the Registry and start using the offered opportunities in their payment services, thus enhancing Baltic cooperation in the creation of innovative payments.

Amendments to "Latvijas Banka's Procedure for the Use of the Proxy Registry "Instant Links"" related to the personal data protection regulation have also been made.

The amendments will take effect on 10 October 2019.

28 August 2019 marked two years since Latvia became the first euro area country to introduce instant payments – innovative, modern, instant interbank transfers available 24/7, including on weekends and holidays. In the course of this short period of time, instant payments have been made available to more than 90% of Latvian credit institutions’ customers and have acquired the status of interbank payments standard rather than that of an exclusive service. Overall, approximately 6.5 million instant payments totalling about 1.3 billion euro have been made.

It is projected that the number of the commercial banks using the instant payment infrastructure will continue on an upward trend and that the existing users will also expand the use of instant payments in their products, thus making instant payments available to more than 99% of bank customers in Latvia.

"It was at the beginning of August that the general public learned about another innovative solution, i.e. an opportunity to make interbank payments indicating the payee's mobile phone number only, without the need to know and enter the respective current account number for each payment. AS "Citadele banka" was the first bank to offer its customers an opportunity to use the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" established and maintained by Latvijas Banka, and other leading Latvian commercial banks are also expected to follow suit. Thus, end users, i.e. the population and entrepreneurs, will enjoy more comfort and opportunities.

In the "Payment Radar" of Latvijas Banka (https://www.bank.lv/en/tasks/payment-systems/payment-radar), Harijs Ozols, Member of the Board of Latvijas Banka, indicates that Latvijas Banka has no intention to stop with the mobile phone number as the single innovative identifier: "We do not intend to limit ourselves to the mobile phone number as the only innovative identifier. For a while now we live in the 21st century, and almost everyone has an e-mail address, accounts in social networks and an ID card. Why couldn't these instruments serve as identifiers for the convenient execution of payments, while maintaining adequate security?"

Instant payments and the Proxy Register "Instant Links" not only provide better, more convenient, quicker and safer payments, but also form an excellent basis for further development of innovative payment services. Entrepreneurs active in fintech, e-commerce, trade, services provision and other sectors have an opportunity to develop new customer-friendly services via the infrastructure provided by Latvijas Banka. Commercial banks also benefit from this infrastructure which contributes to improving customer services, stresses Harijs Ozols.