Bank of Lithuania
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Today, the Bank of Lithuania successfully implemented the changes to the CENTROlink payment system related to the integration of the Eurosystem’s instant payment systems, thus significantly expanding availability of instant payment services in the entire European Economic Area (EEA).

“The Bank of Lithuania perceived the usefulness of instant payments already in 2017, when it offered a possibility to process them via CENTROlink. Currently, this service is frequently used by most of us, while the modern technological changes should boost the expansion of instant payments even more both in Lithuania and across Europe,” says Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.

In order to ensure that the advantages of instant payments could be used by as many residents and businesses as possible, on 24 July 2020, the ECB Governing Council took a decision to ensure availability of instant payments across Europe by the end of February 2022.

According to this decision, payment service providers processing instant payments in the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) and using the TARGET2 services should also gain access to the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) platform. This means that the said payment service providers and payment systems need to make technological changes and connect to TIPS. These changes were also implemented in CENTROlink. 

The volume of instant payments increased more than three times in 11 months of this year, compared to the whole year 2020: from 17.1 million to 54.4 million. Instant payment services via CENTROlink are available to customers of 43 payment service providers from Lithuania and EEA countries (26 at the end of 2020).   

The expansion of instant payments is also supported by the Proxy Lookup Service (PLS) provided by the Bank of Lithuania. It allows initiating payments according to the mobile phone number of the beneficiary of funds. 

The total volume of payments processed in CENTROlink in 11 months of this year exceeded 164 million (95 million in 2020), while their value amounted to almost €284 billion (€170 billion in 2020). Currently, CENTROlink services are used by 149 payment service providers (136 in 2020) from 18 EEA countries. 

Every day, the CENTROlink infrastructure is used to process around 490 thousand payments on average, with their value exceeding €850 million.

This year, 19 financial institutions connected to CENTROlink and started providing services to their customers (39 in 2020). The Bank of Lithuania seeks to ensure that the payment system is used only by reliable financial market participants, therefore, it performs regular assessments of their activities, related risks and reputation. For this reason, just this year 7 applications to connect to CENTROlink were rejected, while 6 institutions providing payment services were disconnected from this payment system.

Additional information
CENTROlink is a retail payment system operated by the Bank of Lithuania which provides technical access to SEPA and TARGET2 via the Bank of Lithuania infrastructure for various payment service providers – banks, credit unions, electronic money and payment institutions – licensed in the EEA. After connecting to CENTROlink, they can offer instant payments 24/7/365, as well as standard credit transfers and direct debit services.