Portugal’s SIBS Takes Payments Platform International

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Portuguese payments provider SIBS has taken its instant payments service international two years after launching it as a intra-country platform.

“The Instant Payments Solution platform from SIBS, launched in 2018 to ensure instant payments processing at a national level, is now also providing these operations between European financial institutions. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, ensuring that funds reach beneficiaries’ accounts in seconds,” SIBS stated in a news release.

SIBS said more than 5 million instant payments were made inside Portugal over the past year — a rate of about 450,000 transactions per month. The value of monthly transactions is about $611 million, an average of $1,349 per transaction, the release adds.

“This move allows Portugal to return to being at the forefront of the payments sector, contributing once again to the growth of electronic payments in Portugal and Europe,” SIBS Chief Executive Madalena Cascais Tomé said in a prepared statement. “The work carried out by SIBS allows the Portuguese banks to offer their customers the solution for pan-European instant payments. We expect that the use of this tool, which allows you to transfer money in a few seconds and at any day and time between different bank accounts, will accelerate even more.”

The new SIBS arrangement is possible, SIBS said, because SIBS has been connected to the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement, the system launched in November 2018 that allows European banks to make instant payments between each other. SIBS stated in its recent release that the countries networked through the system and therefore suitable for instant payments are Portugal, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Latvia and the Netherlands.

The announcement from Lisbon, Portugal comes as bankers around the world are working to improve the speed with which secure and economically reasonable transactions can be carried out.

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve System’s involvement in high-speed payments work includes the FedNow project, which has a target service date of 2023 or 2024.

Boston Federal Reserve Chief Operating Officer Ken Montgomery, who is the program officer for FedNow, told PYMNTS recently that beneficiaries could include under-banked individuals who could be offered options to purchasing cashier’s checks, as well as some businesses.

“We can also see opportunities for small and medium businesses. If they have a big order and need to be paid immediately, it could come in that way [through instant payments]. Larger companies could leverage instant payments for better liquidity management, as they juggle payroll or invoices,” he said.

The move to digital payments systems was well underway before the COVID-19 pandemic, but small- and medium-sized businesses still were using paper checks at a significant rate — more than half of companies in those size ranges, according to a recent survey. But there are signs that’s beginning to change.

SIBS was founded in 1983 in focused in Europe, Asia and Africa.


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