Bank of Albania and the World Bank co-organise the Workshop: “Modernisation of Payment Systems in Albania”

Publication date: 08.02.2024


On 8-9 February 2024, the Workshop on "Modernisation of Payment Systems in Albania” is being held at the premises of the Bank of Albania.

This Workshop is co-organised with the World Bank (WB) and the support of the European Commission (EC), in the context of the WB’s regional project “Western Balkans Payment Systems Modernisation”. This event brings together the main actors of the payments ecosystem in Albania and international experts.

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The First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Albania, Ms Luljeta Minxhozi, in her greeting speech highlighted the importance of cooperation in the area of payment systems with the World Bank and other international institutions in the field.

Ms Minxhozi stated that the Bank of Albania has jointly intensified the efforts with the World Bank, the EC and the Regional Cooperation Council, regarding the three main priorities of the Bank of Albania in the field of payment systems: Implementation of the Law on Payment Services (PSD2); Readiness to Apply to and Join the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA); and the Establishment of a Domestic Fast Payment System.

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The First Deputy Governor Minxhozi emphasised that the approval of the regulatory framework has already been finalised, by enabling the complete implementation of the Law "On Payment Services". The implementation of the Law, on the one hand, opens up the market to third parties that provide payment services, and on the other hand, increases the requirements on strengthening security standards in conducting payments.  In this context, the practical implementation of "open banking”, while it offers opportunities for expanding payment services and enhancing competition, it still remains a challenge for the market.

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Next, the First Deputy Governor, introduced two major projects of the Bank of Albania: 1. Application of Albania to Join SEPA; and 2. Implementation of a Fast Payment System.

Ms Minxhozi highlighted that the Bank of Albania has been working towards Albania's membership in the Single Euro Payments Area, also known as SEPA, since 2021, under the World Bank’s Western Balkans regional project on Payment Systems Modernisation.

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The participation of Albania in SEPA will mark a significant step in the country's journey towards the European integration, providing thus efficiencies for the Albanian enterprises and consumers in terms of costs, time and procedures for cross-border transactions within the European market. In addition, this project is expected to markedly contribute to crucial sectors such as tourism and exports with the EU, as well as the formalization of remittance flows.

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Ms Minxhozi added that the Bank of Albania, as the monetary, regulatory, supervisory and operational authority of national payment infrastructures, is working towards the implementation of a solution for fast payments in the country. Fast payments would ensure instant availability of funds for beneficiaries and enable 24/7 service.

The representative and project lead from the World Bank, Mr Holti Banka, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, commended the work carried out by the Bank of Albania regarding the drafting of the complete regulatory framework for the implementation of the Law "On payment services". He emphasised that the World Bank is supporting all countries in the Western Balkan region on the fulfilment of standards in the payments field with those of the European Union as well as SEPA readiness. In particular, Mr Banka referred to the advantages arising from the participation of the region in SEPA for individuals and businesses.  Participation in SEPA would increase the efficiency of making and receiving payments to and from other European countries. Mr. Banka also emphasized that, the implementation of a Fast Payment System in Albania could amplify the advantages that can be obtained from SEPA membership. He reiterated that the World Bank is committed to assisting the Western Balkans in the process of getting ready to apply for SEPA membership.

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Concluding, Ms Minxhozi thanked representatives from banks and payment institutions for their participation in this Workshop, by underscoring their primary contribution for the further development of payment systems in Albania.