As of Tuesday, 1 February, transactions with the state can be executed instantly, since the Treasury has joined the instant payment infrastructure maintained by Latvijas Banka. This means that payments to the government budget are made within a few seconds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays.
People and businesses will notice these changes in their daily lives when making payments to the Treasury, including payments to the government budget (stamp duties, fines, etc.) and payments for pay-services provided by government budget institutions.
It will be possible to make instant payments to the Treasury's accounts from the accounts of the Latvian credit institutions providing instant payment services, i.e. AS Citadele banka, Swedbank AS, AS SEB banka, Signet Bank AS, AS BlueOrange Bank, AS Reģionālā investīciju banka, Baltic International Bank SE and AS LPB Bank, as well as from accounts of credit institutions of the Baltic countries and the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) countries that provide instant payments (in total, more than 2000 credit institutions). Luminor Bank AS is also expected to start providing instant payments soon. Thus, these innovative payments will be available to virtually all customers of credit institutions in Latvia.
The maximum limit per instant payment in Europe and subsequently also in the instant payment infrastructure maintained by Latvijas Banka is 100 thousand euro. However, each financial institution may also set a lower limit of outgoing payments for its customers. The fee for instant payments payable by customers of Latvian credit institutions usually is the same as for regular SEPA payments in euro.
The Treasury has accounts for the payment of taxes and fees (government revenue accounts for the payment of taxes, fees, fines and other non-tax revenue). The above accounts are opened for public persons (government budget institutions, derived public persons partly financed from the government budget, institutions not financed from the government budget, local governments and their institutions), for sworn bailiffs (deposit accounts holding funds recovered from debtors and other amounts due to stakeholders) and for private legal persons (associations and foundations, religious organisations, commercial companies and other legal persons governed by private law for the receipt of government budget funding and spending thereof).
"Joining the instant payment infrastructure maintained by Latvijas Banka contributes to the digitalisation of the financial sector and public administration, providing innovative and instant transactions between the recipients of public services and the government budget. Instant payments allow for further development of the services provided by public administration, e.g. via the introduction of instant payment requests," emphasises Treasurer Kaspars Āboliņš.
"Latvia was the first euro area country to introduce instant payments, and currently it is common practice to use them in interbank and other payments. Joining of the Treasury to the instant payment infrastructure confirms openness of the public sector to innovation and modern solutions, providing the best possible services and experience to its customers. Meanwhile, Latvijas Banka continues further development of the instant payment infrastructure and will supplement it with instant payment requests in the near term," stresses Zita Zariņa, Member of the Council of Latvijas Banka.
The complete set of instant solutions (instant payments, instant links and instant payment requests) will provide unlimited opportunities for innovative payment services at an interbank level in all areas: highly user-friendly payments between individuals, bill payments, e-commerce and trade, including possibilities to develop these innovative solutions further and employ them not only between credit institutions but also between fintech companies.
Latvijas Banka and the Treasury will continue cooperation in the field of public service innovation.
In 2021, the volume and value of instant payments made between banks in the electronic clearing system of Latvijas Banka were 18.39 million and 6.35 billion euro respectively (by comparison, the volume and value of instant payments made in 2020 were 11.85 million and 2.49 billion euro respectively). The share of instant payments made between Latvian credit institutions increased approximately to 26%, while their share in the payments between credit institutions exceeded 75%.
The number of active instant links contained in the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" went beyond 600 thousand, while the number of requests reached 33.1 million in 2021.