Latest Payments News: New Eurosystem Retail Payment Strategy Strives For 'Resilience', and more

Kat Pilkington


November 27, 2023

Catch up on six of the stories our payments/gambling compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

New Eurosystem Retail Payment Strategy Strives For 'Resilience'

The European Central Bank (ECB) has updated its retail payments strategy, outlining priorities for 2024 and beyond. The strategy was first developed in 2019 and expanded in 2020. 

According to the ECB, the creation of a pan-European solution for retail payments at the point of interaction (POI) and the enhancement of SEPA remain "at the heart" of the strategy. 

However, the central bank’s latest goal is resilience. The ECB said this is necessary due to international shocks, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, increasing cyber threats and an ever-growing reliance on digital payments.

"In light of recent external developments, the resilience of retail payments, in general, needs to be improved,” said the ECB.

This can be done by “ensuring the availability of a fallback option which is at least sufficient for a minimum service in case one type of payment solution does not work temporarily”. 

Euro-Backed Stablecoins Could See 'Tremendous Growth', Says Tempo France

Tempo France, operator of Tempo Money Transfer, has shared with Vixio new research on the likely growth of euro-backed stablecoins under new regulation.

Over the next three years, Tempo expects that stablecoins will make up 0.5 percent of all euros in circulation. Over the next five years, that figure could grow to as high as 1 percent, the company said.

At present, with about €700m in circulation, stablecoins make up 0.007 percent of euros in circulation. In the US, stablecoins currently make up 0.7 percent, or $130bn, of all dollars in circulation.

Under the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), Tempo said that 2024 will be a “year of implementation” for blockchain in payments, and it expects to see a 30 percent rise in EU financial institutions using blockchain.

New opportunities for firms to act as stablecoin custodians, trading platforms and payment service providers (PSPs) will create healthy competition within the EU, the company said.

Korean Regulators Publish Plans For CBDC 'Usability Test' 

The Bank of Korea (BOK), the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service have unveiled plans for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) usability test, beginning in Q4 2024.

The plans specify target use cases and confirm which banks will be participating, following consultations between regulators and the industry.

The tests will be divided into “real transaction testing” and “technical experimentation in a virtual environment”.

Real transaction testing will study payments use cases, including programmable payments, and will aim to explore the “high possibility” of “dramatically reducing” fees, complexity, settlement and verifications times.

FedNow Will Complement RTP Network, Says Fed’s Michael Barr

Michael Barr, vice chair for supervision at the Federal Reserve, has said he believes that FedNow, the newly launched instant payments system, will not duplicate or fragment RTP, its older rival.

“I don’t foresee this being a conflict,” he said at The Clearing House Annual Conference last week, as reported by Banking Dive.

”Banks are going to have optionality in the systems they use, and they might use different rails for different kinds of payments.”

Barr also said the uptake for FedNow, although slow, is consistent with expectations, adding that wide-scale adoption could take years.

To a question about loss of bank fee income, Barr said it will be a “huge benefit for American society” for businesses and households to be able to move money instantly and at almost no cost.

Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi Sign MoU To Collaborate On Fintech Regulation

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on fintech regulation.

Under the MoU, the two authorities will pursue joint proof-of-concept projects to connect the HKMA’s Commercial Data Interchange to the ADGM’s SME Financing Platform.

Both platforms allow businesses to share public and private data with lenders to increase their chances of accessing finance.

The two authorities will also partner on cross-border data exchange to address potential pain points in cross-border banking, such as opening accounts for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The HKMA said the MoU is an important milestone following the signing of a co-operation agreement between the two partners in 2018.

Polish Mobile Payments System BLIK To Expand Into Romania, Slovakia

BLIK, a joint venture between six leading Polish banks and Mastercard, has announced a new partnership with DXC Technology to expand into Romania and Slovakia. 

DXC will modernise and adapt the payment platform’s central system to meet payment standards in Romania and Slovakia. 

It will also ensure that BLIK is able to handle transactions in Romanian leu and euros and can connect to the SWIFT system.

As one of the largest payment systems in Poland, between July and September 2023, BLIK facilitated 455m transactions worth PLN63bn ($15.7bn).

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