On this day two years ago, the NBS launched its Instant Payments Serbia (IPS) system in order to encourage financial sector innovation and support digitalisation and cashless payments. That this was a significant possibility provided by the NBS to citizens and businesses is also confirmed by the fact that such systems were rather rare as very few countries had them at the time. The NBS IPS went live one month before the ECB’s pan-European TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS), while the Fed is currently developing such system.
Owing to the IPS, citizens and businesses can make payments throughout the day, each day in the year, i.e. 24/7/365, and transfers to the recipients’ accounts are made within a few seconds only, whereafter recipients can freely use their funds.
Since the system’s launch on 22 October 2018 to date, 27,071,755 instant payments have been carried out, worth RSD 269,976,560,375.45. The average transaction time is around 1.2 seconds. Turnover has been on a constant rise. The largest daily number of payments since the inception of the system was recorded on 21 September 2020, when 142,769 payments were made.
With their e- and m-banking applications, banks enable all payment service users to make instant payments. In some stores these payments can also be initiated in a few steps by using “IPS Show” and “IPS Scan” options in m-banking applications. From February 2020, the largest retail chain Merkator S, IDEA and Roda introduced instant payments, at over 350 points-of-sale and 1,500 tills, owing to the cooperation between this chain and Banka Poštanska štedionica.
By mid-summer, the first banks launched applications for instant payments acceptance at merchants’ mobile phones, tailored particularly for those small merchants and artisans who had not been accepting cashless payments at their points-of-sale. In cooperation with Merkator S, Banka Poštanska štedionica introduced these applications for payments for the delivery of goods bought in the online store of this trade chain. Komercijalna banka also enabled instant payments via a mobile application in Pink taxi vehicles.
As of June, instant payments can be made for online purchases of goods and services. The first online merchants were Laguna, Vulkan and Tehnomanija, in cooperation with Banca Intesa and Raiffeisen Bank.
By using the “IPS Scan” option, it is possible to pay, in a simple way, the monthly bills of all major issuers in the country and many public utilities companies – by scanning the NBS IPS QR code printed on these bills. The number of these companies is yet to increase. The NBS is also preparing a validator and generator of the NBS IPS QR code, to facilitate businesses to create the code in their invoices and simplify payments for their buyers.
In cooperation with banks and retail chains, the NBS continues to expand the instant payments acceptance network, in order to ensure that instant payments are carried out at as many as possible points-of-sale in the country or that whenever a user needs a payment service – he/she can make the transaction in an instant manner.
In the course of 2021, owing to the functionalities of the NBS IPS, banks will enable their m-banking users to transfer funds only based on the recipients’ mobile phone numbers, which will contribute to the further development of instant payments in our country.
For the sake of reminder, the NBS defined its instant payments tariff policy at the lowest possible level in order to create the conditions for banks to offer this service to citizens and businesses at the most favourable conditions.