Payment systems and remittances represent the foundations of financial sector stability and financial inclusion. Payment systems support financial stability by reducing systemic and settlement risks, acting as firewall to prevent contagion of losses, facilitating proper liquidity management, and through the effective transmission of monetary policy. Also, payment systems are a critical enabler of financial inclusion. Transactions accounts allow people – including the “unbanked” – to make and receive payments in a cost-efficient way. Payment systems also promote economic and financial development: improvements in the national payments system lead to savings for the overall economy, while financial markets benefit from efficient post-trade processing and the safe custody of securities.
In this context, for the last twenty years the World Bank has been supporting national authorities in improving national payment systems, in cooperation with private sector stakeholders, through a broad range of financing, technical, and knowledge instruments. Global data is instrumental to benchmarking and monitoring & evaluation, and helps identify common paths and solutions. In this connection, the World Bank launched the Global Payment Systems Survey (GPSS) for the first time in 2007, to collect information on the status of payment systems worldwide. Since then, the GPSS has allowed authorities and policy makers to make meaningful cross-country comparison and assess progress in payment systems development, and has facilitated dissemination of best practices.
In 2015, the fourth GPSS was expanded to collect information to help assess the readiness of the country’s payments system to underpin the World Bank Group Universal Financial Access goal and strategy. Its focus was broadened to include transaction accounts, and analysis is deepened to cover payment product and business model innovation to enable access. The quantitative module (referred to as “Accounts & Access” module) collects data for 2010-2015, facilitating
trend analyses, and was published in October 2016.
This note provides results of the analysis of the qualitative data collected by the fourth GPSS (data as of end of 2015) on the various aspects of national payment systems. The purpose of this analysis is to identify trends in the underlying legal, regulatory and oversight frameworks and the infrastructure foundations that underpin the safe and efficient provision of payment and settlement services.