The changing operating environment for payments and differences in national practices are a challenge for the development of uniform euro area systems and practices. Such systems and practices are essential for the interbank transfer of payments.

The Bank of Finland participates in the transition in the payments landscape through its role in oversight, by maintaining the reliability and efficiency of payment and settlement systems in Finland.

Payments Council promotes the introduction of instant payments

The Bank of Finland's Payments Council is a cooperative body that brings together associations representing the users and providers of payment services, the largest banks and the authorities in charge of payment services.

In 2019, the Payments Council published an e-booklet Payments going real-time in Finland - instant payments, which examines the current situation regarding instant payments and the challenges of introducing them in Finland. The Payment Council also monitored closely the impact of the new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and developments in the availability of cash services in Finland.

The work of the Payments Council was presented to the general public in the 13th Payments Forum (in Finnish), organised in May. The key topics of the Forum were real-time payments and the security of payments.

It is important to prepare for system disruptions

Payments are one of the critical basic functions of society. It is vital to safeguard the operation of payment and settlement systems critical to society also during periods of serious disruption.

The financial sector must be able to provide critical payment services also in the event of temporary disruptions to normal payments traffic. Digitalisation increases the importance of contingency measures for addressing cyber threats.

In 2019, the Bank of Finland participated, in close cooperation with the other financial sector entities, in the planning of contingency measures for payment and settlement systems in Finland.

Oversight safeguards the operation of systems

The Bank of Finland is responsible for the oversight of payment and settlement systems critical to the Finnish financial markets.

Payment system oversight is conducted primarily in cooperation with the Eurosystem. The Bank of Finland also continued to participate via international cooperation in the oversight of central counterparties (CCPs).

The payment and settlement system simulator developed by the Bank of Finland is used by the Eurosystem and several other countries. The software is used as an oversight tool for assessing and monitoring the efficient functioning of payment and settlement systems and related risks and ideas for improvement.

In 2019, the Bank of Finland participated, together with other authorities, in the granting of a new authorisation, as referred to in the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR), to Euroclear Finland, a central securities depository operating in Finland.

During the year, the Bank of Finland also organised its 17th international seminar for experts in the field of analysis and simulation of payment and settlement systems. The 2019 seminar focused on stress testing and development of systems, liquidity analysis and identification of critical counterparties.

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