Fast pay­ments prom­ise from Czech banks

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - -AP

PRAGUE: The Czech cen­tral bank and lead­ing re­tail banks have agreed to in­tro­duce al­most im­me­di­ate in­ter-bank pay­ments by the end of 2018. While many of the tech­ni­cal ques­tions have al­ready been broached a test­ing pe­riod to make sure every­thing works is needed.

That's of­ten the stan­dard for cash trans­fers be­tween dif­fer­ent branches of the same or dif­fer­ent Czech banks at the mo­ment. But the Czech Na­tional Bank is now pi­lot­ing changes that could re­sult in cash trans­fers in se­conds rather than days. Such pay­ments should be pos­si­ble 24 hours a day and ev­ery day of the year. The ceil­ing for such in­di­vid­ual trans­ac­tions has been set at 400,000 crowns. The ben­e­fit for those be­ing paid is that their ac­counts will be cred­ited al­most im­me­di­ately and sums will not be hanging around on the banks' ac­counts or some­where in tran­si­tion.

Gen­eral agree­ment on the frame­work for im­me­di­ate cash pay­ments were thrashed out be­tween the Czech Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and the cen­tral bank be­fore Christ­mas. They reckon pay­ments in se­conds be­tween par­tic­i­pat­ing banks could be ready by the end of 2018. While many of the tech­ni­cal ques­tions sur­round­ing such pay­ments have al­ready been solved, there are still many more to be face. These in par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the sta­bil­ity of the pay­ments sys­tem over­all and that's one rea­son why a test pe­riod of ex­pected to last from around the mid­dle of 2018 to the fi­nal start of oper­a­tions has been ear­marked.

Dur­ing the first half of 2018, in­di­vid­ual Czech banks, with the Czech Na­tional Bank play­ing a co­or­di­nat­ing and over­sight role, will put in place the sys­tems that should pave the way for more or less im­me­di­ate pay­ments. One ques­tion still to be ad­dressed is whether and how other banks op­er­at­ing in the Czech Repub­lic, those es­sen­tially of­fer­ing gen­eral bank­ing ser­vices to the pub­lic, can also be brought on board.

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