Just three days ago, on 21 November, instant payments, i.e. interbank transfers in the 24/7/365 regime, also on weekends and public holidays, were introduced at euro area level. These are fundamental changes faced by the payment area as interbank transfers can finally be made instantly (a money transfer between two Latvian commercial banks and between commercial banks located in various euro area countries takes no more than a couple of seconds) and they are user-friendly.
The number of payments made in the instant payments infrastructure provided by Latvijas Banka has already exceeded 1 000, and the dynamics suggest that this figure is growing daily.
Observations by the national bank confirm that currently interbank customer payments are executed within a couple of seconds at pan-European level regardless of whether instant payments are made during the day or night, between banks in Latvia or elsewhere in Europe. This very weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, it will be possible for the first time to make instant interbank customer payments in euro also during the weekend; such payments were not normally available before, and customers would have had to wait until Monday.
Currently instant payments in Latvia are offered by JSC Citadele banka, the first bank in Latvia to join the instant payments infrastructure, introduced by Latvijas Banka on 28 August 2017, as well as by JSC SEB banka having introduced instant payments on 21 November when the instant payment system RT1 of EBA Clearing, a company established by European banks, was launched. Early next year, instant payments will also be introduced by JSC Swedbank, the largest Latvian commercial bank in terms of customers, and then the vast majority of interbank payments will be made within seconds in Latvia.