Victoria Cleland: Working together to enhance cross-border payments

Keynote presentation by Ms Victoria Cleland, Executive Director for Banking, Payments and Innovation of the Bank of England, at the Central Bank Payments Conference, 22 November 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
28 November 2021

I am delighted to be speaking at the Central Bank Payments Conference again this year. It has been a difficult intervening year across the globe, with considerable concern, change and uncertainty. Against this backdrop it has been more important than ever to have payment systems that are resilient, reliable and flexible. Payment systems are the backbone of the financial system and they have continued to support the real economy over the course of the pandemic, giving the public one less thing to worry about.

As well as remaining resilient through this time, the payment industry has continued to change and to innovate at great pace. In early 2021, cash withdrawals in the UK declined by 40% compared to the same time the previous year and contactless transactions increased by over 60%. Amazon Go, Aldi and now Tesco have launched trials of checkout-free stores that use advancements in technology to process payments via facial recognition or tracking body movements. There have also been significant and innovative developments in core infrastructures, including the development of the new FedNow service and the launch of Payments Canada's Lynx service, and in the UK our transformational Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) Renewal Programme.

So there is lots going on around the globe – but what about global payments? Today I will focus on how we can work together to enhance cross-border payments. I'm pleased to report that this is another area where there has been significant progress since I spoke at this conference last autumn.