"Delivering trust in money and payments, ensuring safety, resilience efficiency and access” - Deputy Governor, Sharon Donnery

28 April 2021 Press Release

Sharon Donnery

  • Two key trends have been shaping the payments landscape; speed and innovation.
  • It is important that we continue to ensure choice of payments and the availability of cash.
  • Having harmonised standards, common goals and shared policies on a pan-European basis builds trust in our systems.

The Central Bank of Ireland today (28 April 2021) hosted a webinar entitled “The Future of Retail Payments.” The event provided industry stakeholders with an overview of technological innovation and strategic policy developments within the retail payments sector.

Deputy Governor Sharon Donnery opened the webinar by highlighting the evolving landscape of payments “Two key trends have been shaping the payments landscape; speed and innovation. As our worlds have become increasingly digitalised, the expectation of speed, of instant delivery and removal of cross-border frictions to payments has grown ever stronger. In response, there has been remarkable innovation in service offerings by firms, new and old, and indeed the pandemic served to accelerate the use of digital payments.”

Deputy Governor Donnery stressed the importance of consumer safety and the firm commitment for the continued place of cash “Maintaining public trust in our payment systems is a cornerstone underpinning our mission to safeguard monetary and financial stability and to protect consumers. This includes maintaining trust in traditional payment instruments, such as banknotes, and new digital means of payment along with the underlying payment infrastructures and systems…As we move forward it is important in our role as central banks that we continue to ensure choice and the availability of cash. Not all members of the public will want to use electronic means of payment owing to their habits, or a preference for anonymity and privacy”.

The Deputy Governor said that “having harmonised standards, common goals and shared policies on a pan-European basis, builds trust in our systems.” Ms Donnery called for progress on instant payments in Ireland and increased interoperability with European systems. “We are not as far advanced in rollout of instant payments as some other EU jurisdictions. The Central Bank supports the development of an instant payments solution in Ireland and its link to pan-European systems. We encourage banks and other payment service providers to move forward towards implementing instant payment solutions in the near term which can be offered to Irish consumers and businesses. Irish providers need to adopt a forward-looking strategic outlook towards payments rather than wait for instant payments to become a mandatory requirement.”

“As we innovate in Europe, we need to avoid solutions or approaches that are focused within national boundaries. We need to make sure instant payment solutions and systems at the national level can interact seamlessly with European counterparts. In more technical terms, we need to ensure interoperability”

The Webinar was closed by Gerry Cross, Director of Financial Regulation, Policy and Risk, who said that the Central Bank’s objective in holding the event was to foster strategic change in how Irish retail payments ecosystem views instant payments.

“New thinkers and innovators are bringing disruption with new products, services and solutions while shifts in consumer needs and wants are demanding greater efficiencies. On the one hand ensuring that disruption can operate effectively and safely (from a systemic point of view) is important from the overall functioning of the financial system while on the other hand we recognise the legacy challenges faced by incumbents as they move to innovate.

“However, it is necessary for all players to be innovative and invest in new solutions. An evolving and very different future lies ahead and this should be impetus for change. We cannot be complacent and need to move forward with a future focused strategy.”