lv
Published: 25.08.2020

265.1 million non-cash payments made by customers and totalling 87.0 billion euro were executed by the Latvian payment service providers (credit institutions, electronic money institutions, payment institutions, Latvijas Banka and the Treasury) in the first half of 2020. This averages 1.5 million payments worth 477.9 million euro a day.

The total volume of non-cash payments made by customers decreased by 3.3%, but the total value of the payments decreased by 14.7% in comparison with the second half of 2019.

"In the summer months, economic activity improved and the value of card payments increased; in the first half of the year overall, however, the value of card payments – the most popular type of payment with the general public – declined for the first time due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by a more than 30% decline in the value of card payments made in other currencies, and an almost 40% fall in the volume of card payments made at terminals abroad," this is how Edīte Gailiša, Latvijas Banka's payment expert, comments on payment trends.

The most popular customer non-cash payments were card payments and customer credit transfers, constituting 64.9% and 33.9% of the total volume of non-cash payments respectively.

To ensure card payments, 2.2 million payment cards were issued by the Latvian payment service providers as at the end of the first half of 2020 (1.2 cards per capita on average), and most of them were cards with a debit function.

41.7 thousand points of sale (POSs) and 912 ATMs were available to the public. At the end of the first half of 2020, the number of customer payment accounts opened by the Latvian payment service providers totalled 3.3 million or 1.7 payment accounts per capita on average.

8.9 million instant payments amounting to 1.9 billion euro were processed in the first half of 2020.

A detailed report on the operation of interbank payment systems, development of payment instruments and other areas vital for non-cash payments is available on Latvijas Banka's website: (https://www.bank.lv/en/statistics/stat-data/payment-systems-statistics).

 

For reference

Latvijas Banka organises and maintains the payment system infrastructure in Latvia, including two fully automated payment systems helping to ensure interbank settlements in euro. TARGET2-Latvija is an interbank euro payment system, a component of the Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System TARGET2. The Electronic Clearing System of Latvijas Banka (EKS) is used for handling retail payments.

In August 2017, Latvia became the first euro area country to introduce instant payments – innovative, up-to-date, instant interbank transfers available 24/7, including weekends and holidays. In the course of this short period of time, instant payments have been made available to more than 90% of the customers of Latvian credit institutions and have acquired the status of interbank payments standard rather than that of an exclusive service.

In the summer of 2019, the general public learned about another innovative solution, i.e. the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" which enables interbank payments based on the payee's mobile phone number only without the need to know and enter the respective current account number for each payment. Currently, this option is offered by AS Citadele banka, Swedbank AS, AS SEB banka and the major credit institutions in Estonia, and the number of Registry participants is expected to grow further.

Latvijas Banka has developed the Instant Payment Laboratory ZibLab++, an innovative cooperation platform, to help market participants to jointly address practical and technological issues, creating products and services that are based on instant payments and using proxies and offer such innovative products to their customers. The work of this laboratory will help the public at large, financial institutions and other stakeholders to follow the development of possibilities of instant payments, proxy service and instant payment request service, as well as other payment innovations based on the above opportunities and developments. For more details, see: https://www.bank.lv/en/tasks/payment-systems/instant-payment-laboratory.

Introduction of instant payment requests at interbank level has been planned to be the next stage of the development of innovative payments services provided by Latvijas Banka.