Payment system CENTROlink marks instant payments era in Lithuania
The ultra-modern payments innovation – interbank instant payments – has been launched in the Bank of Lithuania’s payment system CENTROlink and is now operational. Such payments only require a few clicks on a mobile phone or another device, and the funds are credited within a few seconds. Fintech company TransferWise has performed instant payments as part of a pilot in the CENTROlink.
‘We are among the first in Europe to have bravely opened up the instant payments area to the market. A participant in our system sent money using the new method and, in 3 seconds, it appeared in the payees’ accounts with commercial banks in Estonia and Spain. A payment can be made instantly to a number of other countries as well. I have no doubt, already in the near future instant payments will reduce the use of cash and will become a popular tool for commercial payments, especially online,’ said Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
The Bank of Lithuania and the first wave of instant payments participants in Europe provided the possibility to use instant payments 24/7 throughout the year including on bank holidays as early as November 2017. The instant payments service is currently available to 16 countries. Eventually, it 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.
‘We expect that the prevalence of instant payments will intensify competition among payment institutions for the customer service quality and pricing. It is now up to them when their clients will be able to start using instant payments and realise the advantages of this innovation. This is possible since the Bank of Lithuania payments infrastructure, with the instant payments facility, is open and can be used without restrictions by all banks in Lithuania and banks, credit unions, payment and e-money institutions of other countries’, said Mr Jurgilas.
Presently, more than 50 payment service providers use CENTROlink services. Crediting of funds could take up a few days if the payer and the payee accounts are with different banks. For example, if a transfer of funds was made late Friday afternoon, the payee would only receive it on Monday. CENTROlink provides the widest range of SEPA services in the Nordic-Baltic region, including instant payments and direct debit.