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Bank of Estonia: Faster payments in high demand in Estonia

Debate on instant payments at the Bank of Estonia on Tuesday. 19 June, 2018.
Debate on instant payments at the Bank of Estonia on Tuesday. 19 June, 2018. Source: (Bank of Estonia/Flickr)

Estonia is moving together with the rest of the euro area firmly in the direction of interbank payments taking just seconds and being made on national holidays and weekends as well, Bank of Estonia Deputy Governor Madis Müller said at a debate on instant payments held at the central bank on Tuesday.

"There is certainly demand in Estonia for instant payments, as surveys show that 70% of people in Estonia want interbank transfers to be faster than they currently are," Müller explained according to a Bank of Estonia press release. "More than one third want money to reach the recipient in less than five minutes."

He noted that being a small country gives Estonia certain advantages. SEB is currently the only bank that offers instant payments to its clients, but should just five banks join the instant payment system, it would be possible to make almost all interbank payments instantly.

Thus far, 580 banks in Europe have joined the instant payments system, but the European Payments Council estimates that the majority of banks in the euro area will be offering their clients instant payments by 2020.

All banks and payment service providers have been able to join the pan-European instant payment system since the end of November 2017, at which time SEB was the first bank in Estonia to roll out the service for its clients. In Latvia, the service is offered by SEB as well as Citadele. An average of 10,000 instant payments are made in total in Europe each day, the majority of which are initiated in the Baltic region.

Participants in the debate on Tuesday included Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Tallinna Kaubamaja Group Raul Puusepp, Chairman of the Management Board of SEB Allan Parik, and Product Manager at TransferWise Lars Trunin. The debate was chaired by technology journalist Ronald Liive.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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