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Press release of Banco de Portugal on the Payment Systems Report 2016

Banco de Portugal publishes today the Payment Systems Report for 2016. 

The report presents the main facts and figures regarding the functioning of payment systems in Portugal and summarises the activities of Banco de Portugal in this field.

In Portugal, retail payments continued to increase, both in number and in value. Purchases via the Multibanco network grew by 9% in 2016, in line with developments in private consumption. 

In 2016 SICOI, the system that processes retail payment operations in Portugal, settled 2,354 million operations, amounting to €386 billion, 6.8% and 8% more than in the previous year respectively.

The use of electronic payment instruments continued to increase. Transactions through the Multibanco network, which represented 86 per cent of the volume of payments in SICOI, increased by 6.7% in value to €106 billion. Purchases, in particular, grew by 9 per cent in value, in line with developments in private consumption in Portugal. The last five years show a trend of withdrawals being substituted by purchases made through the Multibanco network.

After a decline in 2015, direct debits increased also by 4.3% in number and 5.5% in value in 2016.

The use of cheques declined again (by 12.2% in number and 7.9% in value). The number of entities in the list of cheque defaulters declined also by 13.8% (19,931 entities as at 31 December).

The value of purchases made with foreign cards increased by 14% from 2015, reflecting tourism behaviour. Online card purchases increased also by 12% in value.

In 2016 the value of purchases made in Portugal with payment cards issued abroad rose by 14% to €3.14 billion.

At the end of 2016, the Multibanco network registered approximately 14 million debit cards and 6 million credit cards. Although 34% of active cards in 2016 were equipped with contactless technology, purchases made with this technology totalled only 0.5% of the value of purchases paid through the Multibanco network in 2016 (0.2% in 2015).

In 2016 29.4 million card purchases were made online in Portugal, to the overall value of €1,928 million, 12% more than the value registered in 2015.

In the Eurosystem, work continued on the development of a pan-European instant payment solution. If implemented, it may promote changes in payment patterns in Portugal and reduce payment instrument costs borne by society.

The Portuguese banking community successfully migrated to T2S, a key project for financial market integration in Europe.

On 29 March 2016, the Portuguese banking community successfully migrated to the new Eurosystem platform for securities settlement in central bank money – TARGET2-Securities (T2S). In 2016, the Portuguese market represented 0.4% of the number and 0.1% of the total value of debit settlements processed in T2S. 

TARGET2-PT – the Portuguese component of the Eurosystem’s large-value payment system – processed 1.8 million operations, to the value of €2,104 billion, which is equivalent to 11 times the value of the Portuguese gross domestic product at current prices in 2016. The number of operations increased by 1.7 per cent from 2015, as a result of payments switching from EURO1 to TARGET2-PT. The values processed declined by 27.2 per cent, reflecting the reduction in operations with Banco de Portugal, as a result of Eurosystem credit operations, or more exactly, due to the fact that financing roll over by the credit institutions was thenceforth settled for its net amount.

Payment and settlement systems in Portugal operated in a stable and safe manner.

In 2016 Banco de Portugal conducted oversight initiatives to ensure the smooth functioning and safety of payment systems: it assessed the Multibanco card system in view of the new Eurosystem requirements, participated in the assessment of TARGET2 and SEPA direct debit schemes conducted at Eurosystem level and reviewed the activity of correspondent banks in Portugal, which are an alternative channel for payments processing. Although business has been declining, in 2016 correspondent banks traded, on average, €1,299 million per day.