Bank of Lithuania
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Today, on the first business day of the new year, domestic banks began to execute interbank settlements in accordance with the requirements of the Single Euro Payments Area, also called SEPA, encompassing 34 countries. From now on, banks execute interbank settlements in a new SEPA-MMS system, adapted to SEPA requirements and operated by the Bank of Lithuania, as well as in other European payment systems.

‘Today, all banks have successfully executed the first interbank settlements of residents, enterprises and institutions in line with SEPA requirements,’ said Tomas Karpavičius, Head of the Market Infrastructure Policy Division of the Financial Stability Department at the Bank of Lithuania.

According to him, all major banks offer services of conversion of old format payments into SEPA payments to a part of enterprises and institutions that need additional time to prepare to use the ISO 20022 XML message format for SEPA payments in their systems, and also help ensure smooth execution of payments.

‘In the on-line banking system, residents can already see the changed payment order forms, thus when executing the first payments of the year, they should review information on payment form changes and recommendations for duly completing them, submitted by the bank individually or provided on the bank’s website’, said Tomas Karpavičius.

Also, residents should also check periodic payment templates created in the on-line banking systems, as it might be necessary to modify them. Information on changes after migration to SEPA and on completing the changed payment order form is presented in a short video made by the Bank of Lithuania, available online.

The Bank of Lithuania and other payment service providers operating in Lithuania agreed to provide the opportunity to use Lithuanian letters when executing SEPA credit transfers. The list of payment service providers, offering to their customers the possibility of sending and receiving payments in Lithuanian characters, is publicly available. Creditors, whose accounts are held with a payment service provider that is not a party to such agreements, will receive information presented in Latin symbols only.

Lithuania joined SEPA on 1 January 2016. Migration to SEPA is the second major payments-related step in Lithuania joining the single payments market in Europe. Currently, SEPA comprises all EU Member States, as well as Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, San Marino and Monaco.