Instant payments

The instant payment service of Latvijas Banka's EKS allows banks to offer instant payments to their customers to transfer money from an account at one bank to an account at another bank within a matter of seconds on any day and at any time of the day and for the same fee as other credit transfers of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA).

At the end of 2023, instant payments were offered in Latvia by Latvijas Banka and seven credit institutions – AS Citadele banka, AS SEB banka, Swedbank AS, Signet Bank AS, BluOr Bank AS, AS Reģionālā investīciju banka and AS LPB Bank – which meant that instant payments were available to more than 90% of the population of Latvia.

The volume and value of instant payments processed through the instant payment service was 1.4 times larger than in the previous year, and a total of 52.9 million instant payments with a value of 22.4 billion euro were processed, with up to 280 thousand instant payments processed on some days. The availability of the instant payment service was higher than 99.9%.

Proxy Registry "Instant Links"

Latvijas Banka also runs the operation of the "Instant Links" Proxy Registry, which lets the customers of several Latvian and Estonian credit institutions make instant payments and other payments even more simply by just indicating the payee's mobile phone number in the payment order.

By the end of 2023, 819 thousand instant links had been registered with the "Instant Links" Proxy Registry, which has availability of over 99.9%, and this is 13% more than at the end of the previous year. The register processed 19.1 million requests in 2023, and 59% of instant links were registered for customers of Latvian banks and 41% for those of Estonian banks.

Digital euro project

Latvijas Banka continues to take an active part in the digital euro project that is being run by the ECB in cooperation with the national central banks of the euro area. The main objective of the digital euro project in 2023 was to finalise the investigation phase by November 2023. Latvijas Banka participated actively in this investigation phase by evaluating whether the design of the digital euro is aligned with Latvia's needs, and by representing Latvia’s national interests. This work included participating in the secretariat of the High Level Task Force on Central Bank Digital Currencies (HLTF-CBDC) and preparing the documentation needed.

In 2023, Latvijas Banka enhanced inter-institutional cooperation by providing support and consultation to the Ministry of Finance in its work on the proposed regulatory framework that was published by the EC on 28 June 2023.

Given the growing public interest in the digital euro project, Latvijas Banka focused on raising public awareness. This work involved producing publications and analytical articles, while ensuring transparency for the project and debunking myths about it. Experts from Latvijas Banka also gave several interviews and offered commentaries to the media to inform the public about the digital euro project.

Operation of the EKS

The EKS, which was developed and is maintained by Latvijas Banka, continued to provide settlements of customer payments in euro from an account at one bank to an account at another bank for participants in the Latvian payment market through the instant payment service and the clearing service across the SEPA.

The direct participants in the EKS were eight credit institutions, the Treasury and Latvijas Banka. The instant payment service was used by six of the eight credit institutions in 2023, as well as by the Treasury and Latvijas Banka.

Chart 1. Volume and value of payments processed in the EKS


In 2023, 120.4 million SEPA credit transfers totalling 193.7 billion euro were executed in the EKS through the instant payment service and the clearing service combined. The volume of payments executed in the EKS increased by 6.1% over the year and the value by 2.9%.

Operation of TARGET-Latvija

On 20 March 2023, Latvijas Banka along with the other central banks of the Eurosystem finalised the consolidation project for TARGET2 and TARGET2-Securities. A new and innovative TARGET system was established as a result, with its T2 service replacing TARGET2, which had been operational since 2007.

In 2023, Latvijas Banka continued to oversee the operation of TARGET-Latvija, which is a component system of TARGET, the third largest payment system in the world.

Chart 2. Volume and value of payments made in TARGET-Latvija


The availability of the new TARGET, including that of TARGET-Latvija, was 100% in 2023. The system processed an average of 641 payments per day with a value of 1.3 billion euro. While the overall volume of payments declined by 27.54% year on year, primarily because two credit institutions left the system at the end of 2022, the total value of payments fell by a mere 0.52%.

Latvijas Banka also provided payment services in euro to institutions that have settlement accounts at Latvijas Banka, but that were not direct participants of Latvijas Banka's payment system TARGET- Latvija, these being the Treasury and various Latvian, foreign and international financial institutions. The payments by such institutions executed by Latvijas Banka totalled 722 million euro in 2023.

Oversight of the payment system

Latvijas Banka performed day-to-day oversight of the EKS, analysing the system's technical and operational functions, compiling statistical data on it, and making sure that the interbank payment environment in Latvia is secure and efficient.

When overseeing the development of the payment instruments used in Latvia, Latvijas Banka regularly compiled and analysed data on a semi-annual basis on the payments made by customers of Latvia's payment service providers.

Latvijas Banka participated in projects for drafting the regulatory framework for instant payments and reviewing payment services directives. This involvement included providing support to the Ministry of Finance in formulating Latvia's positions and offering opinions on matters concerning the operation and regulation of payment systems.

Oversight of financial instrument settlement systems

Latvijas Banka worked with Eesti Pank, Lietuvos bankas and the central bank of Iceland in monitoring the implementation of the recommendations and observations outlined in the cyber resilience assessment CROE (Cyber Resilience Oversight Expectations) for the Nasdaq CSD SE depository in 2022. After reviewing the information and evidence provided by the depository, the overseers determined that the depository had implemented a substantial portion of the recommendations and observations by the end of 2023. This effort enhanced its cyber resilience in the areas identified for improvement, and the assessment found that the depository continues to ensure compliance with the CROE standards.

Representing the Eurosystem as the central bank of issue, Latvijas Banka conducted an annual assessment of the compliance of the operations of Nasdaq CSD SE with the requirements of the Eurosystem, gaining assurance that the depository complies with all requirements.

Latvijas Banka offered opinions and commentaries on the amendments to the regulatory framework for settlement and clearing systems in the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR Refit) and Central Counterparties Regulation (EMIR Refit), partly in order to facilitate effective cooperation between institutions within the supervisory colleges of depositories and to give depositories access to supplementary banking-type services.

Latvijas Banka was involved in the work of Nasdaq CSD SE supervisory college by giving its perspective as an overseer to foster consensus within the college. This included addressing matters surrounding the transfer of existing issuances and settlement efficiency. Latvijas Banka additionally conducted the day-to-day monitoring of the depository, analysing Latvia's securities settlement system from both the technical and operational standpoints.

Operational areas