Bank of Lithuania
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Last year, payment institutions strengthened their positions in the payments market. Having taken over from banks a few years ago the leader’s role in terms of the number of cash payment transactions, last year they came to hold a larger market share of electronic transfers as well. There was an increase in the total number of electronic transfers.

Competitive rivalry in the field of payments strengthened last year, which is good news for consumers. Payment and e-money institutions, with their increasingly significant role in this market, are not lowering gear this year either. Thus it is likely that, if no significant changes in banks’ pricing, favourable for consumers, occur, the re-distribution of the payments market will follow a similar path this year as well,” says Marius Jurgilas, a member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.    

In 2014, consumers in Lithuania made a total of over 60 million cash transfers or transfers in paper form. In these transfers, 47.8 million transactions were carried out at payment institutions and 12.4 million at banks. Banks’ market share in terms of the number of such transfers contracted from 24.4 per cent in 2013 to 20.5 per cent this year. The market share of payment institutions expanded from 74.9 to 78.8 per cent accordingly. The situation of credit unions, at which 0.4 million similar transactions were performed last year, remained basically unchanged, with their share accounting for 0.7 per cent of a total of such transfers.

Over 115.9 million other popular payments — electronic credit transfers — were carried out last year, an increase of 9 per cent year on year. 109 million of these transactions in 2014 were performed at banks, a year-on-year increase of 5 per cent. The number of electronic money transfers at payment and e-money institutions almost tripled over the same period — to 6 million. These changes also caused the redistribution of market shares. In the electronic transfers market, the share of banks shrank from 97 per cent in 2013 to 94 per cent in 2014; the transfers’ share of payment and e-money institutions increased from 2 per cent in 2013 to 5.2 per cent in 2014. The market share of credit unions remained unchanged to account for 0.6 per cent. 0.7 million e-transfers were made last year at them, an increase of 9 per cent from the year before last.

According to M. Jurgilas, competition in the electronic transfers market will intensify even more when the Bank of Lithuania, after implementing necessary changes in the payment system, will create the conditions for payment institutions to indirectly join the retail payment system. Presently such a possibility is only available to credit unions and banks.

Seeking to provide better possibilities for consumers to be able to compare the pricing of payment services, enhance market transparency and promote competition, the Bank of Lithuania, from October 2011, publishes on its website the fees applicable by payment service providers to natural persons. In addition, this website provides an opportunity to compare in graphic terms which credit, payment and electronic money institutions raised their fees the most and which of them cut them.