Beginning of a new era: Bank of Lithuania enables real-time payments through CENTROlink
With a change in name and expansion in its capacities, CENTROlink – a payment system operated by the Bank of Lithuania – turns a new page in the Lithuanian history of payment services. Joining the first wave of the pan-European adherence to the new scheme, the Bank of Lithuania has opened up the possibility for financial institutions to offer their clients the most cutting-edge innovation in the field of payments – instant payments, available 24/7/365, including weekends and holidays.
‘Today marks a revolutionary breakthrough in the euro payments market. Instant payments will not only allow paying just as fast as using cash but also increase competition in the payments market in terms of both the quality and price of services,’ – said Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
The instant payment solution has been added to CENTROlink in the first wave of the pan-European adherence to the new scheme – starting from 21 November 2017 instant payments will be accessible in 8 countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria. Eventually the service will be available across SEPA, i.e. in 34 European countries. Funds will be credited instantly not only in these countries but also between them.
‘The payment infrastructure of the Bank of Lithuania is open and fully primed for working with banks, credit unions, as well as payment and e-money institutions established in Lithuania and abroad. How quickly they choose to offer instant payments to their clients is completely up to them,’ – said Marius Jurgilas.
Seeking to encourage major banks to start offering instant payments as quickly as possible, the Bank of Lithuania, together with the three largest banks in the country, signed a memorandum on the provision of the instant payment service.
‘We hope that banks will devote special attention and resources so that consumers could receive funds transferred as soon as possible, including on weekends and holidays,’ said Marius Jurgilas.
Currently, several dozen payment service providers are using CENTROlink services, including Citadele, Medicinos bankas, Šiaulių Bankas, and various credit unions. Participants of the non-bank sector – Contis Group, Elektroninių mokėjimų agentūra, Paysera, Perlo paslaugos, Revolut, among others – can also access them through the Bank of Lithuania infrastructure.
Crediting of funds using standard payment methods could take up a few days if the payer and the beneficiary held their accounts with different payment institutions. For example, if a transfer of funds was to be made late Friday afternoon, the beneficiary would only receive it on Monday.
CENTROlink has the widest range of SEPA services in the Baltic-Nordic region, including instant payments and direct debit.