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EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of Iran is to launch an instant payment platform in late December, a deputy governor of the bank said.

"Development of the instant payment platform is in accord with global standards. The system has been tested and is ready for use in the banking network," Mojtaba Moharramian, the CBI deputy governor for innovative technologies, was quoted as saying by the CBI website.

The system will replace the existing card-to-card money transfer service, he said.

"It was crucial to replace the card-to-card transfer method with something that allows the CBI to supervise bank transactions more accurately and use risk management solutions."

According to the official, CBI's instant payment system is an interbank platform operating under CBI auspices and handles instant settlement of payments in large and small amounts at any time of the day/night using bank account numbers.

The final phase of the system's development started last year in collaboration with banks.

"Bank Melli Iran, Bank Mellat, Ayandeh Bank, Bank Saderat Iran, Keshavarzi Bank, Parsian Bank, Saman Bank, Dey Bank, Cooperatives Development Bank, Bank Pasargad and the Middle East Bank have passed the final tests and should start employing the system next month."

Transactions via the POL have lower fees compared to the card-to-card system, he added.

Card-to-card transactions are handled by CBI's SAHAB platform. SAHAB is a card-based fund transfer system connected to SHETAB (the national interbank network) center, allowing customers to send funds to any other SHETAB-member bank using their own cards.

3 Billion Transactions a Month

Iranian banks process 450 to 500 million interbank transactions per month. An estimated 3.3 billion transactions are processed by the domestic payment network, Shaparak, every month.

The total active bank cards in use reached to 121 million last month, according to CBI data with debit cards accounting for almost 95% of the total.

Money transfers are added to the destined card instantly and the CBI completes the processing and clearing of transactions at the end of each business day.

Real-time payments offer a broader advantages to financial intuitions, such as reducing payment costs, curbing fraud and creating space for innovative products.

Instant payments are at the forefront of fintech innovation in the world. Adoption of the Payment Services Directive paved the way in Europe to boost innovation and open the payment segment to the wider market. This was in contrast to the past when the key payment industry was dominated by banks.


CBI Payment System