Bank of Lithuania
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The Bank of Lithuania informs that, during the festive season, the options available with instant payments will allow most of the customers using payment services to transfer money to an account with another bank or electronic money institution (EMI) within seconds. Customers making regular payment orders should bear in mind that they will not be executed on Good Friday, the holiday weekend and the second day of Easter, i.e. from 29 March through 1 April. 

Instant payments to beneficiaries at other financial institutions will be executed as usual, i.e. on a 24/7 basis. It will only be possible to make payments to banks and EMIs ready to provide this service.

According to the data of the Bank of Lithuania, last year the number of instant payments increased particularly before Good Friday. It may be attributable to shopping for the holidays during that period. The number of instant payments has been constantly on the rise. Between 1 January and 15 March 2024, the daily average of instant payments via CENTROlink was 11.3% higher year on year. Compared to the total of SEPA payments, CENTROlink instant payments accounted for 55% in 2023.

During the festive season, transfers between accounts within a bank or EMI, card payments at physical points of sale or online and payments for e-commerce transactions will be executed as per usual. Residents will be able to make cash withdrawals from ATMs and use internet banking and smart apps.

It is only possible to make instant payments to banks and EMIs ready to provide this service. When initiating an instant payment during the holiday season, it is necessary to take into account the information provided by a bank or EMI while filling in the payment order and, where appropriate, mark it as instant. In case making an instant payment is not possible, customers will be offered a usual SEPA payment which will only reach the payee at another financial institution after the holidays.

Back in late 2017, the Bank of Lithuania enabled instant payments to be made via its payment system CENTROlink which allow executing wire transfers within a few seconds 24/7/365. The system is open to all payment service providers. The need for the instant payment service has become particularly relevant, pending the entry into force of the EU Instant Payments Regulation. It will oblige credit institutions still not providing the instant payments service to begin providing it by October 2025, while electronic money and payment institutions will have to introduce it by March 2027.

In July 2022, the maximum amount of instant payments allowed was increased to €100,000, but to manage their risk financial institutions may also apply a lower threshold, so customers should approach their financial institutions for specific restriction applicable.