Bank of Lithuania, the nation’s central bank, has revealed that the number and value of payments completed via its platform, CENTROlink, had doubled last year, while instant payments surged by around four times (when compared to previous years).
Keeping these developments in mind, Bank of Lithuania has decided to make changes to the fees charged for CENTROlink services. The institution plans to adopt a more rigorous approach when it comes to assessing or evaluating local payment service providers and their management (beginning this year).
Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, stated that CENTROlink plays a key role in supporting the development of the country’s payment services industry, and this is “reflected in its performance indicators.”
“Particularly notable is the recent surge in instant payments, which shows that this innovation, that took quite some time to reach Lithuania, is gaining momentum and popularity. A third of all euro transfers made by residents and firms to an account opened with another bank or electronic money institution established in Lithuania are instant payments.”
Around 26 Lithuanian and EEA payment platforms will be able to provide instant payment services via CENTROlink. On average, there are over 260,000 payments made via these platforms. Their total value is approximately €460 million. These transactions are performed daily via the CENTROlink infrastructure.
At present, CENTROlink services are used by 136 different payment service providers located in the 14 European Economic Area (EEA) nations, showing steady growth from only 103 such entities back in 2019.
Last year, there were over 95 million payments made which is significantly more than 43 million transactions performed in 2019, within CENTROlink with their value reaching nearly €170 billion (approximately €88 billion in 2019).
The number of instant payments made last year increased from 3.6 million to 17.1 million (year-over-year). Meanwhile, the total value of these transactions increased from €3 billion to €12.4 billion.
But the minimum monthly fee for payments is expected to increase. The Bank of Lithuania will be taking into account or consideration the development of CENTROlink services and the growing interest of financial industry professionals and organizations. The reserve bank will focus on further strengthening the operations of payment service providers. The institution will also assess the effectiveness and reliability of each provider, their shareholders and management, and cases or incidents where they’re subject to sanctions or other penalties.
During the past year, 39 financial institutions reportedly joined CENTROlink, and 12 requests were denied during the bank’s risk assessment stage. The activities and transactions of payment providers are being monitored carefully, and in case of any problems such as operational risk or anti-money laundering issues, their access to the system could be terminated.
Several institutions in the country have been denied access to the system during the past few years, while some providers had their licenses or permits suspended last year.
The Bank of Lithuania has also been focused on lowering CENTROlink fees for incoming and outgoing Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) credit and instant payments. The bank will be reducing charges for financial institutions that are making over 30 million payments per year.