Banco De Portugal Introduces New Payment Services Ahead Of Instant Payments Regulation

May 21, 2024
Banco de Portugal has launched two new payment services aimed at enhancing the safety and convenience of payment transactions for individuals and businesses.

Banco de Portugal has launched two new payment services aimed at enhancing the safety and convenience of payment transactions for individuals and businesses. 

The new services will offer confirmation of payee (CoP) tools and fall in line with the EU’s Instant Payments Regulation (IPR), the central bank said on Monday (May 20). One will be effective immediately, while the other is due to take effect next month. 

The IPR was signed into law earlier this year, imposing a matching verification obligation on payment service providers (PSPs) offering instant euro payments. This requires them to verify whether the payee's name and IBAN match. If any discrepancies are found, PSPs are obligated to warn the payer accordingly.

From May 20, PSPs in Portugal can offer beneficiaries and debtors verification for credit transfers, immediate transfers and direct debits. The central bank said that this will bolster transaction security by preventing misaddressed transfers, fraudulent charges and other illicit activities.

On June 24, Banco de Portugal will launch a second service, named SPIN. This will allow users to initiate credit transfers and immediate transfers using the recipient's mobile phone number or legal person identification number (NIPC) instead of the traditional IBAN. 

This aims to streamline payment processes, making transactions more accessible and user-friendly.

These services will be accessible to PSPs participating in the Interbank Clearing System (SICOI), the primary platform facilitating the majority of daily payment transactions in Portugal.

By offering these services to SICOI participants, Banco de Portugal aims to encourage widespread adoption, in line with the regulator’s National Strategy for Retail Payments 2025.

The new service allows payers of credit transfers, immediate transfers and direct debits to verify the identity of the beneficiary/debtor before initiating the transaction. 

The service features two confirmation options. One option is the single beneficiary confirmation, which enables the confirmation of the beneficiary's identity by providing the name of the first holder of the payment account associated with the designated IBAN. PSPs will need to offer this functionality to users free of charge. 

The other option is the grouped beneficiary/debtor confirmation, allowing confirmation of ownership of one or more payment accounts by validating NIF/IBAN or NIPC/IBAN pairs for credit transfers, immediate transfers, and direct debits initiated in bulk. 

Companies can utilise this functionality for purposes such as salary payments and supplier transactions.

The central bank has said that these confirmation features will be available to payment service users 24/7, through various channels including online banking, mobile applications and in-person banking facilities.

SPIN will also be offered to consumers at no cost, and will be accessible across multiple channels provided by PSPs, with the central bank saying that this will ensure seamless and convenient transactions for all parties involved.

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