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Irish central bank sets new payments strategy as country lags rest of Europe

Irish central bank sets new payments strategy as country lags rest of Europe

The Central Bank of Ireland has outlined a new multi-year payments strategy amid concerns that banks are failing to grasp the opportunities presented by instant payments.

Speaking at the BPFI National Payments Conference, Vasileios Madouros, deputy governor, Central Bank of Ireland says that since the last National Payments Plan, a little over a decade ago, there has been remarkable change and innovation in domestic payments, but there are also important areas where Ireland is still lagging behind.

"Consumers having greater access to payment solutions is dependent on the market grasping the opportunities available," he says. "Despite the instant payments infrastructure being available since 2017, material providers of payment accounts in Ireland have not implemented it. For consumers and businesses, this is an unsatisfactory outcome.”

An attempt by irish banks to launch their own mobile app offering merchants instantaneous account-to-account payments for POS and e-commerce transactions was canned last year after being overtaken by a rapidly changing payments landscape.

To overcome inertia, the Central bank has proposed four high-level priorities through to the end of 2030.

The first of these calls on banks to ensure that Irish consumers and small businesses benefit from payment innovations that exist elsewhere in Europe and that emerging payment solutions shall be integrated with Europe and interoperable with other key markets, where possible.

At the same time, cash should remain widely available and accepted as a means of payment, and this choice should be safeguarded for consumers and businesses.

The remining two priorities focus on maintaining resilience and security in payments and embedding research and analytical insights to inform future policy decisions.

In conclusion, DG Madouros says: “Many of the benefits of technology in relation to payments for domestic consumers and the broader economy remain untapped. The National Payments Strategy offers an opportunity to take a longer-term view and develop a coherent, system-wide approach to the future evolution of payments in Ireland, within a European context."

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