Today the Council of Latvijas Banka has approved amendments to Procedure No. 183/3 "Participation Procedure in Latvijas Banka's Electronic Clearing System" of 9 September 2010. They have been drawn up to ensure the introduction of an innovative service, i.e. instant payments, in Latvia.
The national central bank builds the infrastructure required to ensure instant payments between participants of Latvijas Banka's electronic clearing system (EKS), thereby promoting the use of cashless cash and the development of innovative payment instruments in Latvia. Instant payments will be provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, executing customer payments within a few seconds. This is expected to facilitate an increased access to payment services by Latvia's population and businesses as well as to boost competitiveness of Latvia's digital financial technologies or the FinTech sector.
The amendments to the "Participation Procedure in Latvijas Banka's Electronic Clearing System" supplement the application procedure for the participation in the EKS and employment of its individual services as well as describe the functionality of the instant payment service. They also foresee the creation and maintenance of the register containing customer account IBAN numbers and mobile phone number links (IBAN Register). It will provide an opportunity to make an instant payment by indicating the payee's mobile phone number only. To ensure execution (reachability) of instant payments throughout SEPA, it has been envisaged to create a connection to the instant payment solution (RT1 system) developed by ABE Clearing S.A.S. à capital variable (hereinafter, EBA Clearing). This will enable execution of instant payments with both the Latvian credit institutions, which are not EKS members but intend to introduce the instant payment service later by joining EBA Clearing, and with other European credit institutions.
The introduction of the instant payment infrastructure in Latvia is planned for 28 August 2017, and the launch of the pan-European RT1 system – for 21 November 2017. Latvijas Banka will join the RT1 system from the start of its operation, thus providing an opportunity for customers of EKS participants to make instant payments across Europe.
Latvijas Banka organises and maintains the payment infrastructure in Latvia, including two automated payment systems helping to ensure interbank settlements in euro. TARGET2-Latvija is one of the component systems of the Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer system, whereas the EKS is a net settlement system used for the processing of retail interbank payments in euro.
In 2016, TARGET2-Latvija processed 429.2 thousand payments totalling 235.1 billion euro, whereas the EKS handled 40.3 million payments with the total value of 54.0 billion euro (more detailed information is available at https://www.bank.lv/en/statistics/payment-systems-statistics/bank-of-latvia-interbank-payment-system-statistics).
Latvijas Banka, acting in the public and economic interest, carries out several tasks significant for each and every inhabitant, financial markets and the public at large:
- participates in the formulation and implementation of the euro area's monetary policy;
- issues cash in Latvia and participates in ensuring the cash circulation process in the euro area;
- discharges the function of the central national currency authentication centre;
- maintains the interbank payment systems' infrastructure and promotes their smooth operation;
- manage the foreign reserves and other financial investments;
- acts as the financial agent of Latvia's government and provides financial services to other market participants;
- compiles and publishes financial, monetary statistics and balance of payments statistics;
- maintains and develops the Credit Register;
- acts as an advisor to the Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia on monetary policy issues and other issues related to Latvijas Banka operation.
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 raise public awareness of the development of the economy and the monetary system, the current situation and the economic policy being pursued. Latvijas Banka also takes an active part in educating the general public on various economic topics.