What is a National Payments System?

A National Payments System encompasses all payment-related activities, processes, mechanisms, infrastructure, institutions and users in a country. The Central Bank (together with the Payment Systems Management Body if one has been established) provide regulatory oversight of the National Payments System drawing on the following:

  • The National Payments System Law
  • The Central Bank Law
  • Banking Law
  • Commercial legislation related to the National Payments System participants
  • Additional legislation governing the conduct and activities of banks
  • Rules including inter alia: Payments Association and Automated Clearing House Rules
  • Central Bank Directives, Circulars and Guidance Notes
  • Bank for International Settlements publications including Guiding Principles for Payments System Modernization and Core Principles for Systemically Important Payments Systems
  • International Best Practice

Subscribe to the National Payments System Institute now, receive your first e-book, Introduction to the National Payments System for free and access our comprehensive online library containing over 500 laws, regulations and supporting documents pertaining to the regulation and oversight of National Payments Systems in countries across the globe.

The National Payments System Institute offering

E-books

The initial e-book, Introduction to the National Payments System  will provide an insight into the basic framework of a National Payments System.

National Payments System Institute subscribers are able to upload the National Payments System Institute e-books and e-modules for free. Introduction to the National Payments Systemthe first e-book to be released by the National Payments System Institute is designed to provide the reader with a foundation for understanding the NPS as a whole—its basic components, layers, payment instruments and channels, participants and how it is regulated and overseen. The concepts apply widely, though examples from specific countries are cited throughout. Many existing works focus on one part of the NPS or another or on specific payment instruments or channels. This book fills a gap in explaining how those parts fit together — what an NPS looks like and does.

Further, much work has been done on analysing large-value payments. These payments are the emphasis of the modern economy, but that is changing: electronic payments systems are developing quickly, and there is now an emphasis on financial inclusion in many countries. So this book will primarily deal with electronic payments, with a special focus on retail payments, a term that will be discussed in the next chapter.

Chapter 2 introduces the core building blocks of the payment landscape, distinguishing payments by three dimensions: the payment instrument, the store of value and the channel used. It also introduces the payment grid, which differentiates flows by the identity of payer and payee.

Chapter 3 addresses how the health and functioning of the NPS affects the national and international economy; and what this means for the main users of payment systems — consumers, businesses and governments — as well as for the providers.

Chapter 4 outlines the rules that shape the NPS, and Chapter 5 looks at how those rules are applied by regulators and overseers. Chapter 6 surveys the main participants in the payments system. In the final chapter, we look at emerging trends and what they mean for the future of payments.

Payments systems are evolving quickly — especially with the rapid increase in the number of electronic payment technologies and in the transaction volumes. Understanding the NPS as the framework within which individual payments systems operate and payment instruments are issued and acquired helps all participants to see “the forest for the trees.”

For payment regulators, this book helps to understand how their oversight powers can best be directed to the healthy development of the NPS so that it achieves national objectives. Financial inclusion is an objective of rising importance in many places and payment regulators need to consider how to make their payments systems more inclusive. An increasing number of other regulatory agencies, such as competition authorities, are also showing interest in the functioning of the NPS.

For payment providers, robust strategy to participate in and profit from the payment business will depend on having a keen understanding of how the NPS works as a whole: both the opportunities and competitors of tomorrow may come from different parts of the NPS. This book helps to provide a foundation for such a strategy.

For donors and investors wishing to promote payments system development, each funding intervention in a payments system will have an effect on the NPS as a whole. The social impact or financial value of an investment will ultimately depend on how the intervention fits into the evolving system. This book will help donors and investors to get an overview of the NPS ‘whole’ as more than a sum of its parts.

This book introduces a common foundation of knowledge, including a common vocabulary, for all three groups. On this foundation, further knowledge can be added over time. The NPS-Institute intends to support the ongoing learning journey through adding new modules to address new issues.

E-modules

The initial e-book will be complemented with e-modules focusing on specific aspects relating to the National Payments System. E-modules covering topics such as interchange and the principals that should manage this, Interoperability, Competition and the role of other regulators in the National Payments System will be made available to subscribers over time.

In-person training

The National Payments System Institute is committed to e-learning and the online dissemination of knowledge in order to reach the maximum amount of people with an interest in National Payments Systems. At the same time we recognise that individuals and organisations involved in various aspects of the National Payments System will, from time to time, require specialist and situation specific knowledge.

The National Payments System Institute provides in-person standardised or custom designed training to large and small groups at competitive rates. Our team of highly skilled practitioners are happy to discuss your specific training requirements with you.  Please complete our Online Enquiry Form and state “in-person training enquiry” in the subject field.

What sets the National Payments System Institute apart?

At the National Payments System Institute we seek to demystify payments and to provide key information in a meaningful format enabling practitioners to function more effectively.  Our product offering and approach are distinctive as:

  • Our focus is on National Payments Systems;
  • Our geographic focus is global;
  • Our product offering is of interest to a wide range of individuals/organizations in particular:
    • Central Banks, NBFI Regulators, Telco Regulators,Competition Authorities
    • Banks, Retailers, Telco’s, Software and hardware vendors, switch operators
    • Donors and NGOs involved in implementing projects with a payments component;
    • Economics/finance/commerce and law students;
  • Learning is progressive and builds on the foundation set by the first e-book, Introduction to the National Payments System;
  • Additional specialised payments add-on e-modules will provide learners with an in-depth understanding of specific subjects such as interchange, interoperability, competition in payments and Government to Person (G2P) payments;
  • Our searchable library contains over 500 National Payments System related documents that can be downloaded by subscribers for free.

 

Who is this website for?

Individuals who deal with issues relating to national payment systems through projects and programmes, in the public and private sector as well as at donor organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) often find that the information which they seek is not freely available and remains the intellectual domain of a select few. The knowledge sought includes information on basic concepts, components of a National Payments System, the payment system landscape, clearing and settlement, open versus closed systems, regulatory landscape, payment instruments, payment standards and bank and non­bank participants.

In response to the need for easily accessible National Payments System related information the National Payments System Institute has created this website to provide critical information, resources and custom designed materials to subscribers.

This website is intended to serve:

  • Donors involved in implementing projects with a payments component;
  • Economics/finance/commerce students;
  • NGOs involved in implementing projects with a payments component;
  • Private sector stakeholders; retailers, banks, telco’s, software and hardware vendors, switch operators and onsulting firms;
  • Regulators: Central banks, NBFI regulators, telco regulators and competition authorities