Latvijas Banka has published Latvijas Banka's Review of Social Costs of Retail Payment Instruments in Latvia in 2014. It is a compilation of data based on a uniform European methodology developed by the European Central Bank, enabling to identify the costs incurred by traders, service providers and financial institutions to provide an opportunity for the public, i.e. natural and legal entities, to make payments for goods and services in Latvia. The given survey was prepared following the euro changeover in Latvia, comparing the data for 2014 with the previous review containing the data for 2009 and published in 2012. It suggests that the number of non-cash payments has grown, whereas the social costs per non-cash payment have decreased.
The main conclusions are as follows:
– in 2014, the total social costs of payment instruments amounted to 206.3 million euro or 0.86% of GDP;
– the highest social costs per payment were those of non-cash payments, with cash payments remaining the cheapest payment instrument;
– the number of non-cash payments is growing and the social costs per payment are decreasing, whereas the number of cash payments is declining and the respective social costs per payment are increasing;
– in total, 900.7 million payments in the amount of 10.3 billion euro were made in the retail sale and services sectors in 2014;
– of those, cash payments at 69.8% of the total number dominated in terms of number, whereas non-cash payments prevailed in terms of value, representing 56.5% of the total value.
– each individual has made an average number of 455 payments in 2014 or 57 payments more than in 2009.
According to the data presented in the review, costs associated with cash payments (103.0 million euro) comprised about half of the total social costs of payment instruments. The remaining part consisted of the non-cash payment costs: card payment costs amounting to 54.1 million euro and credit transfer costs totalling 49.2 million euro.
In comparison with 2009, the total social costs of payment instruments have increased by 33.4 million euro, whereas the total number of payments has grown by 4.2 million. The social costs of card payments and those of credit transfers have grown by 17.0 million euro and 7.1 million euro respectively, with the number of such payments rising by 77.6 million and 35.6 million euro respectively, whereas the social costs of cash payments have increased by 9.4 million euro and the number of such payments has declined by 109.0 million.
Like in 2009, the largest social costs per payment were those of non-cash payments: 48.9 cents and 31.5 cents in the case of credit transfers and card payments respectively. The social costs per cash payment were 16.4 cents. In comparison with 2009, the social costs per non-cash payment decreased for both credit transfers and card payments (by 24.6% and 20.2% respectively), as the number of such payments grew much faster than the associated social costs. The social costs per cash payment increased by 29.1% in comparison with 2009, whereas the total number of such payments decreased by 14.8%.
According to Latvijas Banka estimates, each individual has made an average number of 455 payments in 2014 or 57 payments more than in 2009. The total social costs per payments by one individual, incurred by traders, service providers and financial institutions to ensure that each individual had access to such payments were 104.40 euro.
The given survey looks at the most widely used retail (i.e. payments that are not urgent and do not exceed 50 thousand euro) cash and non-cash (card payments, credit transfers) payment instruments. A full review will be available on Latvijas Banka website.
It is a regular review and the next survey of the social costs of payment instruments of all euro area countries will be conducted over the next few years.
Latvijas Banka is the central bank of Latvia, an independent institution and a member of the Eurosystem. The primary objective of Latvijas Banka is the same as that of the central banks of other euro area countries and the European Central Bank – price stability (inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term). This is an essential precondition for a strong and growth-oriented economy. To achieve that, Latvijas Banka participates in the formulation of the Eurosystem's monetary policy, related decision-making and implementation.
Furthermore, acting in the public and economic interests, Latvijas Banka carries out the following main tasks within the Eurosystem:
– manages foreign reserves;
– issues cash in Latvia and participates in ensuring the cash circulation process in the euro area;
– promotes smooth operation of the payment systems;
– compiles financial and monetary statistics, as well as balance of payments statistics;
– maintains and develops the Credit Register.
Latvijas Banka promotes analysis and research of macroeconomic and financial issues, thereby laying a secure foundation for professional activities in these areas. The role of the leading industry expert helps Latvijas Banka enhance the public understanding of the fundamentals of the economy and the monetary system and the current situation. Latvijas Banka takes an active part in promoting economic education among the general public.