Clearing and Settlement Arrangements for Retail Payments in Selected Countries

11 September 2000

Press release

The Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) today releases a report entitled Clearing and Settlement Arrangements for Retail Payments in Selected Countries. The aim of the report is to contribute to a better understanding of retail payment systems across the G10 countries and Australia. It is the second CPSS report on retail payment systems; the first - Retail Payments in Selected Countries: A Comparative Study - was published in September 1999. That report, which focused on retail payment instruments and end user markets, is complemented by the present report, which analyses the clearing and settlement arrangements for retail payments in the same group of countries.

The report is a continuation of the CPSS's earlier work on the payment and settlement infrastructures that underpin financial markets, including netting systems (on which reports were published in 1989 and 1990), systems for the settlement of securities transactions (reports in 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999), foreign exchange trades (reports in 1993, 1996 and 1998) and real-time gross settlement systems (report in 1997).

While the September 1999 report pointed to the diversity of retail payment instruments both within and among the selected countries, the analysis contained in the report released today reveals a number of similarities in the structure of clearing and settlement arrangements in the G10 countries and Australia. In particular, multilateral clearing and settlement systems are in use in all countries. In some countries, correspondent and central bank arrangements also play an important role. In addition, nearly all countries have dedicated clearing arrangements for credit cards and sometimes debit cards.

Recent developments in end user markets, such as the growth of electronic commerce and the emergence of new payment instruments and methods, have increased the demand for new clearing services in some countries. The application of information and communications technology to payment processes has made it possible to meet end users' growing demand for new and/or more sophisticated services. The availability of new products and communication and delivery channels, such as the internet, has allowed financial institutions to review their distribution strategy and has given customers the possibility to choose from a wider variety of payment services. Although it is difficult to say at this point where this evolution will lead, it does highlight the dynamic nature of retail payment systems.

Notes to editors:

Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems

The Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) serves as a forum for senior representatives of the central banks of the G10 countries to monitor and analyse developments in payment and settlement arrangements and to consider related policy issues. Non-G10 central banks/monetary authorities are increasingly involved in the Committee's work. The Chairman of the CPSS is Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank. The CPSS and its various subgroups usually meet at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, where its permanent Secretariat is located.

Working Group on Retail Payment Systems

The CPSS Working Group on Retail Payment Systems has the lead responsibility in the Committee's consideration of retail payment instruments, settlement arrangements and central bank responsibilities. It was chaired by Stefano Lo Faso until November 1999; since then the Chairman has been Carlo Tresoldi, also of the Bank of Italy. The Working Group's members are listed in the report.

Where can I obtain copies of the report and other CPSS publications?

The report is available on the BIS website ( and copies can be obtained from the BIS Publications Service or from the central banks represented in the Working Group from late September. A list of CPSS publications as well as the full text of a number of recent reports are available on the BIS website.