Velichkovski: Growth of competition in the market of payment services is expected

Competition is expected to intensify in the domestic market of payment services. The National Bank issued the first permits for payment institutions, in accordance with the new legal framework, through which citizens will be able to make payments in the country and across borders, noted the director of the Directorate for Payment Systems at the National Bank, Igor Velichkovski, in a guest appearance on "Bloomberg Adria". . He pointed out that one of the significant benefits of the new legal framework in the payment sphere is the opening of the market for the entry of new providers of payment services, i.e. in addition to banks, payment services can also be provided by savings banks, and as new participants in the market they can also call payment institutions and electronic money institutions.

As announced by the central bank, the new institutions should receive a license to provide payment services and/or issue electronic money from the National Bank, for which they should meet appropriate conditions that are clearly prescribed by the new legal framework. In the past period, a large number of entities turned to the National Bank in order to start the process of obtaining a license to provide payment services, with five trading companies that provided certain types of payment services (quick money transfer or issuing credit cards), in accordance with the previous legal framework, submitted an official request with the necessary documentation in accordance with the new legal framework and were positively evaluated. In addition, the National Bank issued a license to the existing operator of the payment system - KIBS, which enables the settlement of transactions with credit transfers, being licensed for the first time in accordance with the new legal requirements that follow the practices in the countries of the European Union.

Regarding the interest of new non-bank providers in a wider range of payment services, Velichkovski points out that the National Bank is currently in active communication with several entities, some of which already provide payment services on the market in the European Union and in the region.

- We expect that these entities, if they meet the prescribed conditions, will bring innovative payment solutions to the Macedonian market in accordance with the global trend related to fintech services, said Velichkovski.

In addition to strengthening competition through the entry of new payment service providers into the domestic market, which would provide cheaper, faster and more convenient payments for citizens and companies, the NB indicates that the new legal framework has created a basis for simplifying and cheaper cross-border payments as well.

- We would achieve this by joining SEPA (Single Payment Area in Euros). The National Bank and the relevant state institutions with joint efforts completed the application for our country's accession to SEPA and at the end of April this year, the National Bank submitted the application to the European Commission for obtaining an informal opinion. After we receive the informal opinion and after we act accordingly, the application will be formally submitted to the European Payments Council to receive a formal assessment and decide on access to SEPA, Velichkovski pointed out.

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