In Hungary, Instant Payments Gain Traction

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The new year dawned with individual country and company initiatives tied to instant payments, and moving beyond cash transactions.

To that end, Reuters reported on Thursday (Jan. 3) that, in Hungary, commercial banks have started a test phase for a domestic instant payments system, with a “go live” date slated for July 1. The newswire noted that the instant payments system has been in development since 2017, and domestic bank transfers that are worth up to 10 million Ft ($35,000 USD) will be settled within five seconds, according to GIRO, a payments service provider.

Among the biggest banks in the country, amid the push toward instant payments, are OTP Bank, Belgian KBC Groep and Austrian Erste Group Bank.

GIRO said the new system will allow bank transfers to be done across mobile phone numbers, which should provide alternatives to 24-digit bank account numbers. In addition, the central bank in the country has said that the instant payments scheme should help foster greater uptake of electronic and mobile payments, and less reliance on cash.

Separately, UCPB, a lender based in the Philippines, has introduced a money transfer service between banks, allowing for instant fund transfers. Verdict reported that the new service, known as InstaPay, can let customers transfer funds to a limit of 50,000 PHP ($951.48 USD). The transfers will be done through UCPB Connect, the electronic banking service.

In a statement, UCPB Vice President and Head of Marketing Group Charina Balanquit said, “The fund transfer service is geared more for retail payments, such as domestic remittances, payments to service providers, eCommerce and peer-to-peer payments.”

Verdict also noted that the service is the first Automated Clearing House (ACH) under the central bank’s National Retail Payment System. Like other instant payment initiatives, the goal is to spur the adoption of electronic payments.

In the Middle East, ACI Worldwide said this past week that the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has launched the SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) for its customers. In a release at the end of the year, the real-time payments and banking solutions provider said that NBK customers can make same-day transfers of funds. The list of banks signing on to the standard now stands at about 300.

The gpi news follows the announcement at the end of last month that NBK would also incorporate RippleNet blockchain into its online bank offerings, with 24-hour wire transfers to Jordan — an initial deployment, with more countries to follow.

The bank said that NBK Direct Remit facilitates instant money transfers 24 hours a day, and will levy a fee of roughly $3.29 on each transaction that occurs between the banks in Kuwait and NBK Jordan. The announcement noted that fund transfers to NBK Jordan accounts will be credited instantly, while funds that are sent to other countries will be sent through ACH.

Ripple had also partnered with UAE Exchange, a linkup to allow cross-border remittances to Asia using blockchain.

“Blockchain holds tremendous promise for the industry, but there is progress to be made before we see it go fully mainstream,” said UAE Exchange CEO Promoth Manghat. “We expect to go live with Ripple by Q1 2019 with one or two Asian banks. This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”

“Blockchain holds tremendous promise for the industry, but there is progress to be made before we see it go fully mainstream,” said UAE Exchange CEO Promoth Manghat. “We expect to go live with Ripple by Q1 2019 with one or two Asian banks. This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”


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