Sweden Proposes Payments Contingency Planning Regulations

June 7, 2023
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Sweden’s central bank is looking for feedback from key payment service providers in the region as it ramps up its preparedness work for times of crisis.

Sweden’s central bank is looking for feedback from key payment service providers in the region as it ramps up its preparedness work for times of crisis.

The Riksbank is proposing new regulations that require companies that conduct operations that are of particular importance for payments to work with civil contingency planning.

These companies will be required to both carry out internal work and participate in the Riksbank's planning aimed at ensuring that the public can make payments during peacetime crisis situations and at heightened alert.

The payment system Bankgirot, payments platforms Swish and Loomis, and ATM network Bankomat, have been contacted to respond.

So have local banks SEB, Handelsbanken and Swedbank, as well as other regional banks Nordea and Danske Bank.

The consultation has been triggered by the new Sveriges Riksbank Act.

This came into force on January 1 this year and gives Riksbank a responsibility to ensure that the public can make payments during a crisis.

In practice, this means that the Riksbank will carry out work with civil contingency planning for payments.

The Riksbank may also impose requirements on companies that conduct activities that are of particular importance for making payments.

In addition, the Swedish central bank will monitor that the companies meet their obligations.

In the proposed regulations, the Riksbank has identified which companies conduct business that is of particular importance for making payments.

This first version of the regulations covers a small group of companies that have a central function to ensure the general public’s payments work.

Subsequently, the regulations will expand gradually to cover more companies.

Sweden’s Riksbank is not alone in being conscious of contingency. Its Nordic counterpart Norges Bank recently reported in its annual report that contingency arrangements need to be strengthened so that the public can continue to pay securely and efficiently.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India revealed last week that it is working on developing a "lightweight" back-up payment system.

The RBI said that its Department of Information Technology has been working on a back-up payment system that could offer a lifeline in worst-case scenarios.

Known as the Lightweight Payment and Settlement System (LPSS), the RBI said this new model is designed to be “portable” and low-maintenance and will operate “independent of conventional technologies”.

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