350 million customer non-cash payments totalling 118.8 billion euro were executed by Latvian payment service providers (credit institutions, electronic money institutions, payment institutions, credit unions, Latvijas Banka and the Treasury) in the first half of 2022. This averages 1.9 million payments worth 656.6 million euro a day.
The total volume and value of non-cash payments made by customers increased by 27% and 19.5% respectively in comparison with the first half of 2021.
"In the first half of 2022, the total volume and value of non-cash payments made by customers continued on an upward trend, representing year-on-year increases of 27% and 19.5% respectively. This time, the volume and value of payments rose on account of the household consumption growth, the fact that some statistics respondents improved their accounting methodology due to changes in the regulation for payment statistics and the elevated inflation in the country", this is how Emīls Dārziņš, Head of the Payment Systems Policy Division of Latvijas Banka, describes the trends in the payments field.
The most popular customer non-cash payments were card payments and credit transfers, constituting 59.7% and 38.8% of the total volume of non-cash payments respectively.
To ensure card payments, 2 million payment cards were issued by Latvian payment service providers as at the end of the first half of 2022 (1.1 cards per capita on average), and most of them were cards with a debit function.
44.3 thousand points of sale (POSs) and almost 900 ATMs were available to the public. At the end of the first half of 2021, the number of customer payment accounts opened by Latvian payment service providers totalled 3.1 million or 1.6 payment accounts per capita on average.
19.1 million instant payments totalling 6.5 billion euro were executed in the first half of 2022.
A detailed report on the operation of interbank payment systems, development of payment instruments and other areas vital for non-cash payments is available on Latvijas Banka's website (https://www.bank.lv/en/statistics/stat-data/payment-systems-statistics).
Latvijas Banka organises and maintains the payment system infrastructure in Latvia, including two fully automated payment systems helping to ensure interbank settlements in euro. TARGET2-Latvija is an interbank euro payment system, a component of the Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System TARGET2. The Electronic Clearing System of Latvijas Banka (EKS) is used for handling retail payments.
In August 2017, Latvia became the first euro area country to introduce instant payments – innovative, up-to-date, instant interbank transfers available 24/7, including weekends and holidays. In the course of this short period of time, instant payments have been made available to more than 90% of credit institutions' customers and have acquired the status of interbank payments standard rather than that of an exclusive service.
In the summer of 2019, the general public learned about another innovative solution, i.e. the Proxy Registry "Instant Links", which enables interbank payments based on the payee's mobile phone number only without the need to know and enter the respective current account number for each payment. Currently, this opportunity is offered by AS Citadele banka, Swedbank AS, AS SEB banka and the major Estonian commercial banks, and the number of participants of the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" is expected to grow further.
Latvijas Banka has developed the Instant Payment Laboratory ZibLab++, an innovative cooperation platform, to help market participants to jointly address practical and technological issues, creating products and services that are based on instant payments and using proxies and to offer such innovative products and services to their customers. The work of this laboratory will help the public at large, financial institutions and other stakeholders to follow the development of possibilities of instant payments, proxy service and instant payment request service, as well as other payment innovations based on the above possibilities. For more details, see https://www.bank.lv/en/tasks/payment-systems/instant-payment-laboratory.
The introduction of instant payment requests at interbank level has been planned to be the next stage of the development of innovative payment services provided by Latvijas Banka.