5.1 million instant payments amounting to 1 billion euro have been processed via the instant payment infrastructure, developed and maintained by Latvijas Banka. The historic 1 billion euro milestone of instant payments was reached on Monday, 1 July.
Instant payments have become a standard payment service and credit institution customers no longer have to worry about making their interbank payments within the credit institutions' business hours: instant payments can be processed within a flash of an instant, on any day and any hour of the day. For instance, 20 000 instant payments amounting to 2 million euro were executed via Latvijas Banka's instant payment infrastructure over the Summer Solstice holidays (22–24 June). After the introduction of instant payments, interbank payments are available 24/7/365, i.e. also on weekends and holidays.
Latvijas Banka was the first in the euro area implemented instant payments on 28 august 2017. At this stage, over 90% of the customers of Latvian credit institutions already have access and can benefit from instant payments, and the service is expected to become available to almost 100% over 2020. Instant payments are currently processed by Latvijas Banka, and instant payments are also offered to their customers by AS Citadele banka, AS SEB banka and Swedbank AS. Moreover, instant payments can be used for transfers to more than 2300 euro area institutions (for the list of the institutions, see https://www.ebaclearing.eu/services/instant-payments/participants/).
As a result of further development of instant payments and with the involvement and support of Latvijas Banka, in the coming months credit institutions are expected to start offering their customers an option to make instant payments based on recipient mobile phone numbers only, without having to enter the recipient bank account number for every payment. Latvijas Banka developed and maintains the Proxy Registry "Instant Links" (or Zibsaišu reģistrs in Latvian) storing the links between the customer account numbers and mobile phone numbers. The Proxy Registry "Instant Links" is also prepared to store other identifiers linked to customer accounts (e.g. e-mail address, social network or instant messaging ID, payment card) that can be used for even more convenient and faster preparation of instant payments. The Proxy Register "Instant Links" can be used to prepare not only for payments, but also for other payments, including intra‑credit institution payments.
The development and wider use of instant payments will help consumers significantly save their time and provide various ways more efficiently managing their finances, including an opportunity to use instant payments at points of sale and in online shopping in the future. This innovative financial service will also support the development of the financial sector and improve the competitiveness.