The SNB facilitates and secures payment transactions

Thomas Jordan, Alternate Member of the Governing Board

Swiss Banking Operations Forum, Zurich, 25.04.2007

The cashless retail payment systems currently in operation across Europe are still very much geared towards the individual countries. In an effort to create a more integrated system, a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is to be established in the European Economic Area with the introduction of a common set of guidelines and standards. This should improve the efficiency of processing infrastructures and do away with any differences between national and cross-border euro payments. Since the beginning of 2006, banks in Switzerland have also been able to participate in SEPA. The National Bank supports these endeavours.

Switzerland is no stranger to the challenges posed by the introduction of a single payments area. In the speech, a brief historical outline shows how the SNB has fulfilled its statutory mandate to facilitate and secure the operation of cashless payment systems. This highlights the fact that the National Bank preferred market-oriented solutions over direct interventions, and was open to the changing needs of the market.

Today, the SIC system is one of the cornerstones of Switzerland’s payment system. The speech takes a closer look at two important aspects in the relationship between the SIC system and the SNB, namely the outsourcing of operations to SIC AG and the National Bank’s scope for monitoring and influencing the system.