Interview with Klaas Knot by Martin Arnold of the Financial Times. Published on December 26, 2022.Read more
Trust at the heart of the DNB Payments Strategy
In these times of increasing digitalisation, the new Payments Strategy of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) focuses on safeguarding trust. We want everyone in the Netherlands to be able to pay and for payments to remain secure. DNB is also committed to further European integration and global cooperation.
The Payments Strategy 2022-2025, which was published today, outlines the main trends in the payments market and how these may affect the payment infrastructure. This analysis has provided us with three key priorities: ensuring access to payments, maintaining a robust and reliable payment structure and strengthening European and global payments, leveraging the Dutch experience.
Accessible to everyone
On average, the general population’s appreciation of payment services is high. The Dutch payments system is cheap, innovative and reliable, However, various groups are observing a decline, including certain elderly people, people with functional impairments and people with low literacy levels. We wish to reverse this trend. Through research, we will be able to better determine the nature of the problems experienced by various groups. Together with banks and interest groups united in the National Forum on the Payment System, we are implementing an action plan aimed, for instance, improving personal service for customers, and communication by banks. In addition, cash must remain sufficiently available. That is why agreements will be made with banks and relevant stakeholders in the Cash Covenant.
Ensure a fallback option for debit card payments
In this digital age, a failure of digital systems would have serious consequences. That is why much effort is required to ensure that every day millions of payment transactions can take place at all times. Due to our increased dependence on electronic payments, it is essential that an alternative to debit card payments, the dominant electronic payment method in shops, is available. We call on market parties to speed up their efforts in this regard. Any digital fallback options for debit card transactions must be both adequate and sufficiently available. One example could be the use of QR codes supported by instant payments.
Resisting cybercrime attacks
Cyber resilience is also given high priority. At present, failure of payment systems is very rare. But cyber attacks are getting increasingly sophisticated and potentially more disruptive, making it crucial to be prepared for crisis situations. To remain resilient, it is essential to continue the important TIBER tests with banks and vital payment infrastructures and to continually tighten protection. We will extend our tests to systemically important third parties. We will also actively disseminate knowledge and advice, sharing our experiences and best practices with other vital sectors.
Strengthening payment systems in Europe…
We are committed to strengthening the European payments market. Currently it is not yet possible for all consumers in the euro area to pay in stores using their debit card, or in webshops, in the same manner. Uniform payment methods would benefit the internal market, enabling payments to be made in a similar and cost efficient manner across Europe. A pan-European set of payment instruments would in addition reduce dependency on large US or Asian payment card companies, ensuring that consumers are protected by European law.
Together with other central banks, we are actively participating in the ECB’s investigation into a digital euro. “Public money", i.e. money issued by a central bank, must remain accessible alongside the money held in accounts at commercial banks. At present, public money is only available in the form of cash. We are investigating whether it would be desirable to introduce a digital equivalent alongside cash, and what its features should be.
… and beyond
Our payments to countries outside Europe can become faster, cheaper and more inclusive. The processing of international payments must reach a level comparable to that of European payments. Meeting these objectives will require extensive cooperation between public and private sectors worldwide. Therefore, we are actively participating in the plan launched by the G20, the bloc of the world’s twenty largest economies, to improve international payments.
At the same time, stablecoins are emerging on the international market. Stablecoins could play a part in a faster, cheaper and more inclusive cross-border payments infrastructure, but also pose many risks. For example, it is unclear whether they are adequately covered by the currencies to which they are linked. Stablecoins must be regulated appropriately and in line with the risks they pose. We support the European regulation of cryptos, including stablecoins. However, differences in the global regulation of stablecoins should be avoided as far as possible. The Financial Stability Board (FSB), of which DNB President Klaas Knot is chairman, fulfils a coordinating role and promotes international standards for the regulation of global stablecoins.