The Bank of Albania, pursuant to its main objective, achieving and maintaining price stability, has the legal responsibility to promote and support the normal functioning of the payment systems. This responsibility is set out in the Law on the Bank of Albania.
Also, the Law on Banks in the Republic of Albania provides banks and branches of foreign banks with the right to participate in electronic payment systems, as stipulates that their activity and participation in such systems is a competency of the Bank of Albania.
Lastly, the Law on the Payment Systems, in line with the international trends on the legal consolidation of the oversight function of payment systems, addresses the oversight of these systems comprehensively, including the payment instruments. Together with other bylaws of the Bank of Albania, this law sets out clear rules on licencing, regulation and inspection based on the liberalisation of the payment systems market.
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Article 3 (2)
The Bank of Albania shall also, to the extent consistent with its principal objective and internal banking market, promote and support the development to a market-based the foreign exchange system, the internal financial market, the payment system, and foster monetary and credit conditions conducive to the orderly, balanced and sustained economic development of the country.
Article 3 (4)
One of the main tasks of the Bank of Albania is to promote the smooth operation of payments system.
- The Bank of Albania, in cooperation with banks, shall establish regulations and procedures for payments execution rendered by payment instruments used as means of payment, including electronic and telegraphic funds transfer services.
- The Bank of Albania shall organize and payments settlement rendered by payment instruments used as means of payment.
- The Bank of Albania may coordinate payment and securities clearing services.
- The Bank of Albania oversees the payments system in the Republic of Albania directly, or through agencies or interbank entities established for this purpose. The Bank of Albania promotes interbank payments and efficient settlements between banks and other payment-related services.
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Article 129 (1) and (6): Electronic payment systems
1. The Bank of Albania and the banks or branches of foreign banks may participate in electronic systems of payment in accordance with this Law and by-laws implementing it.
6. The activity of the payment systems and their participants shall be regulated by the bylaws issued by the Bank of Albania, and agreements between the Bank of Albania and entities conducting banking activities in the Republic of Albania.
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Article 8: Oversight and regulation of systems
1. The Bank of Albania shall regulate and oversee licensed systems, adopting regulations in this concern.
2. The Bank of Albania may impose other standards and requirements on operators, systems, participants and indirect participants.
3. The Bank of Albania and the Albanian Financial Supervision Authority, upon a bilateral agreement, shall specify the role of each institution, with regard to the regulation, oversight and inspection of the securities settlement system and the securities clearing house.
Article 9: Investigative power of the Bank of Albania
- With a view to ensuring compliance with this Law and the subsidiary legislation issued under it, the staff of the Bank of Albania, as well as other qualified persons appointed by it, may visit the offices of the systems, operators, participants and indirect participants, to examine such accounts, books, documents and other records, to obtain such information and data from them, and to take such other actions that the Bank of Albania may deem necessary.
- Operators, participants and indirect participants shall furnish the Bank of Albania with accounts, books, documents and other records required by this Law or the subsidiary legislation issued under it, or any any additional information and records as the Bank of Albania deems necessary.
Article 15: Regulation and oversight of payment instruments
- With a view to ensuring their safety, soundness and efficiency, the Bank of Albania may regulate and oversee the issuance and use of payment instruments, as part of the domestic payment system.
- The provisions of this law shall apply to such regulation and oversight where appropriate.
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Article 19, point 1 letter “b” : Other Activities
Apart from the provision of payment services, payment institutions shall be entitled to engage in the following activities:
b)the operation of payment systems pursuant to article 20 of this law, and without prejudice its participation in other systems, in accordance with article 29 of this law;
Article 20: Operation of payment systems
- Banks and foreign banks branches, electronic money institutions and payment institutions have the right to operate payment systems.
- The entities as set forth in paragraph 1 of this article, that operate payment systems accordingly to the principle of settlement finality, shall be authorised, regulated and supervised in accordance with the legislation in force on the payment systems.
- The Bank of Albania, by a by-law, shall determine the conditions on the operation and supervision of payment systems, accordingly to the stipulation set forth in this law, which do not operate accordingly to the principle of settlement finality.
- The Bank of Albania shall request the establishment of a separate entity for the operation of payment systems, if it deems that the other activities of the payment service provider that are different from the payment services, impair or are likely to impair either the financial stability of the payment service provider, or the ability of the Bank of Albania to monitor the compliance of the payment service provider with all of the obligations laid down by this law.
Article 29: Participation to payment systems
1. Legal persons, which are providers of payment services being authorised or registered by the Bank of Albania, have the right to participate in payment systems.
The payment systems for the payment service providers, in accordance to this point, shall ensure that the rules on participation are objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate. These rules should not inhibit their participation in the system more than is necessary to safeguard against specific risks such as settlement risk, operational risk and business risk and to protect the financial and operational stability of the payment system.
Payment systems shall not impose on payment service providers, on payment service users or on other payment systems any of the following:
a. restrictive rule on effective participation in other payment systems
b. rule which discriminates between authorised payment service providers or between registered payment service providers in relation to the rights, obligations and entitlements of participants; or
c. restriction on the basis of institutional status.
2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to:
a. payment systems as defined in the legislation in force on payments system and respect settlement finality;
b. payment systems composed exclusively of payment service providers belonging to a group.
3. For the purposes of letter “a” of paragraph 1 of this article, whenever a participant in a designated system allows an authorised or registered payment service provider that is not a participant in the system to pass transfer orders through the system, that participant shall, when requested, give the same opportunity in an objective, proportionate and non-discriminatory manner to other authorised or registered payment service providers in line with paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article. The participant shall provide the requesting payment service provider with full reasons for any rejection.