Survey of developments in electronic money and internet and mobile payments

March 2004


A number of innovative products for making payments have been developed in recent years, taking advantage of rapid technological progress and financial market development. Transactions made using these innovative products are accounting for an increasing proportion of the volume and value of domestic and cross-border retail payments. The possibility of electronic money taking over from physical cash for most small-value payments continues to evoke considerable interest among both the public and the various authorities concerned, including central banks. Although e money has not been a very dynamic area in the field of retail payments recently, its development raises policy issues for central banks as regards payment system oversight, the possible implications for central banks' revenues and the implementation of monetary policy. In view of these potential policy concerns, in 1996 the G10 central bank Governors announced their intention to closely monitor the evolution of electronic money schemes and products and, while respecting competition and innovation, to take any appropriate action if necessary. The Governors asked the BIS to monitor the developments of these new products on a regular and, as far as possible, global basis.

Since 1996, the BIS, in cooperation with the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) and with the support of the CPSS Secretariat, has been regularly surveying electronic money developments around the globe with the help of central banks worldwide. The surveys were initially confidential, with information being shared only with the participating central banks. However, in view of the widespread public interest in this innovative means of payment, the CPSS decided to make the contents of the survey publicly available after obtaining the consent of the participating central banks. The first such Survey of electronic money developments was published by the BIS in May 2000, followed by an updated report in November 2001. The present report too is being made available to the public.

As payments made using the internet and mobile phones have advanced quite rapidly in recent years compared to e money, the CPSS decided that these innovative methods of payment, having raised policy issues for central banks in much the same way as e money issues did, should be included in the public survey. Internet and mobile payments are defined by the channel through which the payment instruction is entered into the payment system.

In this survey the number of participating central banks and monetary authorities has increased to 95. The report provides information on innovative products that are in use or being planned in the countries and territories concerned. Data included in the survey relate to end 2002 or 2003. The report also provides information on the policy stance adopted by the various authorities concerned, including central banks. An overview of the scope, definitions and policy issues is provided in the introduction to the report.

The CPSS would like to thank all the institutions that have participated in the survey and agreed to make information available for this report. The Secretariat welcomes comments on the content or the format of the survey (e mail:, subject line: "e money"; fax: +41 61 280 9100). The survey is available on the BIS website (

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Chairman
Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems