In 2011 credit transfers accounted for at least approximately 50% of total non-cash payments by value in all BIS Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) countries, except for the United States (only 34.9%), Singapore—where they comprised 19.4% of overall transaction volume -- and Canada – where only 30.6% of payment value consisted of credit transfers.
Direct debits are second in terms of relative importance as an electronic payment channel—accounting for 40.4% of non-cash payments by value in Australia, 22.4% in the US, 17.9% in Brazil and 19.8% in Germany. Direct debits make up less than 10% of payments in the other CPSS reporting countries.
Initiatives in Electronic Payments
A number of government and regulatory initiatives—particularly in Europe—are helping to make it easier and more attractive for individuals and businesses to use electronic payments.
The Faster Payments Service (FPS) is a banking initiative in the UK whose intention is to reduce payment times from the traditional three working days down to near-real-time. FPS is aimed at low-value payments of up to £10 thousand, or £100 thousand for standing orders. It was launched in mid-2008 and quickly spread. By law, since the start of 2012 all internet and phone payments have been sent via FPS. The system is managed by Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS)—the UK’s real-time-gross-settlement system.
The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative is also helping to drive adoption of the e-payments channel by instituting a single infrastructure and regulatory framework for domestic and cross-border credit transfers and direct debits in the euro-area. The EC set an end-date of December 2011 for SEPA credit transfer migration and a year later for SEPA direct debit migration.
In addition, the European Commission in December 2010 released a report, ‘Reaping the benefits of electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) for Europe’, in which it called for widespread adoption of electronic invoicing within the EU by 2020. The commission’s goal of increasing e-invoicing uptake will further push in the region towards greater use of electronic forms of payment, as e-invoicing solutions often are linked with electronic payment channels.