Non-cash payment system has been developing in the world for hundred years. The first bank papers and checks appeared in Great Britain in 18th century. And in 1970s, with the development of bank automation in developed countries, electronic payments systems appeared, both for credit transactions and payment operations, as well as for the control over bank accounts. Such systems speed up money turnover, improve banking services and cut costs. Electronic money systems include not only payment cards, but also special means of payment through internet (WebMoney, PayPal, etc.).

Electronic payments have been developing in Ukraine as well. Thus, according to the expert data, in 2011 Ukrainians increased the use of payment cards, including payments for goods and services through automatic teller. According to the data of GfK Ukraine company, as of the beginning of 2012, already 52% of citizens used payments cards (payments in shops, payments for communal services and communication), which is seven percentage point more than in 2011. The motivating is simple: long lines in bank departments, lack of free time and high service fees push people to simplify their payment procedures. Moreover, it is safer to use e-money than to carry cash in pockets.

What's new in the law?

The legislation on non-cash payments develops as well. Thus, in autumn the parliament adopted the law on functioning payment systems and development of non-cash payments, initiated by the National Bank, which counts to speed up country's transition to non-cash payments. Analysts remind that cash is inconvenient not only for citizens, but also for banks, as it requires heavy expenses for accounting, logistics and storage. 

According to Natalia Syniavska, director general of NBU department on information technologies and payment systems, non-cash payments have become a norm in the large outlet chains of the country. There are certain problems with small shops, but banks are ready to install their equipment there free of charge. One of the most important innovations of the law concerns the limitation of cash payment amounts. However, this norm will be applied to big sums, like tens of thousands of hryvnias. NBU council chairman Ihor Prasolov confirms that NBU limitations will concern expensive cars, yachts, planes, the antique, expensive real estate. "Regular citizens will not feel any changes. At the same time, this innovation will weaken shadow economy and will increase legalization of incomes," he added.

Moreover, Syniavska continues, the law will enable to create a national system of non-cash payments based on international standards. "People will be able to use the cards of the domestic system in any store. The new cards will be compatible with the acting terminals and ATM, thus no new equipment will be required. Moreover, banks will be able to place two and more different payment systems on their payment cards," NBU representative specified. Economist Ruslan Pavlenko admits that creation of the Ukrainian payment system will take over a considerable part of the domestic market of Visa and Master Card, which allow overprices for their services. "The new system will also reduce the risks of collapse of foreign payment systems in Ukraine, if, for example, the United States, suddenly demands both world leading payment operators to suspend operations in our country." Moreover, the tax service will control all sellers for having necessary equipment for non-cash payments, and sellers now face the fine of UAH 8500 for refusing or somehow limiting the consumer's right for non-cash payment.  

The law also introduces the standard notion of e-money (digital equivalent of cash, stored on an electronic device or remotely at a server and accepted as means of payment and/or monetary obligation) and defines that banks reserve the exclusive right for its issuing. The National bank will also create and put in operation a registry of payment systems, their participants and operators of payment infrastructure services. NBU will also establish the central processing center to follow all e-payment operations.

Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, Chairman of the Management Board of "Raiffeisen Bank Aval" sums up: economic advantages from non-cash payments development are obvious. "First of all, it is a big resource of economy financing, better than deposits or payments. Secondly, it is a reliable means of safe payments. Thirdly, it enables to reduce logistics and storage expenses of the banks. Many countries no longer welcome cash payments, and some countries apply strict measures to limit cash turnover."

Further prospects

Nevertheless, even before its adoption the law was criticized by the circles not interested in changes at the market of non-cash payments. The criticism came down to the question whether the new rules will overregulate the market and challenge such moguls as Visa and Master Card. In this respect, Yuri Chaika, director general of LLC MoneXy (e-money operator), told ForUm that any control limits the possibilities and number of players on the market, but if the control is proper and efficient, it will help to clean the market from precarious operations and operators. "One of the tasks of any state is to provide financial safety of economy. For this, there are central banks, fiscal policy and relevant regulatory system. These are necessary means to support financial health."

In his turn, director of non-bank payment system "GlobalMoney" department on corporative relations and control Yuri Korzh believes that the new law on payment systems sets new rules, which will completely change the market. "For the first time in our country the e-money operators have received the legal status, supported by the legislation. The law determines the rights and obligations of the operators, making them more reliable and secure for citizens. Such legislative guarantees will strengthen consumers' confidence and will promote innovation services. It means that Ukraine will unify standards and form transparent tariffs as in European countries," the expert says.

Executive director of QIWI in Ukraine Andriy Rudyk adds: "We fully support the policy of strengthening control over e-payment market. It develops fast and has already reached the stage when proper regulation and single rules are required. The law will provide additional transparence and safety of transactions. With the development of e-payment systems for sale of various kinds of tickets (train, plane, cinema, theatre, etc.), for loan receiving and repayment, for recharging cards, etc., the new rules are advantageous for both operators and consumers."

Analysts sum up: annual turnover of e-money in the country exceeds four billion hryvnias and may reach UAH 40-50 billion in several years. With such rapid pace of development, the market needs clear and effective legislation. Let's hope that the above mentioned law will create all necessary conditions for operators to develop and improve their services and for consumers to use them safely.

Andriy Boyarunets


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