Eesti Pank's new inter-bank retail payment system makes it possible to increase the speed of payments

The tender by the French company STET (Systèmes technologiques d’échange et de traitement) was chosen by the central bank as the best in the procurement started in mid-September last year to bring the retail payment processing system into line with the conditions of SEPA, the Single Euro Payments Area. Under the proposed system, inter-bank payments should start to be made more quickly in Estonia, and should become cheaper for the banks than under the central bank's current ESTA retail payment system. The proposed solution also allows the number of days the system is in operation to be increased.

Eesti Pank's aim with the procurement for the new retail payment system was to improve the quality of payment services during the changeover to the SEPA and to ensure a level competitive playing field in the pricing of payments for all the commercial banks operating in Estonia.

The solution proposed by STET will make the cost of payments for commercial banks up to one-third cheaper than under the current ESTA price of three cents per payment. It will also make it possible to increase the speed of settlements between the banks and the amount of time when the system is available. The STET system will allow SEPA credit transfers and direct debits to be settled in accordance with the new requirements that will apply from February 2014.

For Eesti Pank's new STET service to be launched successfully in the Estonian market, it is important that all the commercial banks operating in Estonia join the new system. Eesti Pank will present the STET tender at a meeting of the banks on Wednesday, and hopes that all the current members of the ESTA settlement system will continue to use the single payment system provided by Eesti Pank for their domestic payments at least. The final choice of solution and the conditions for bank clients will be clarified once the negotiations between the commercial banks and Eesti Pank have been completed.

Background:

The single payment terms will apply in the European Union from February 2014 so that private clients and companies will be able to use one bank account and one payment card to make payments in euros across the whole of Europe. For this reason updates will be required for the ESTA payment system run by Eesti Pank in Estonia for domestic payments between banks, which sees individuals and companies in Estonia make an average per day of 100,000 payments at a total value of around 125 million euros.

Eesti Pank announced an international procurement on 28 May 2012 to upgrade the inter-bank retail payment system, but the procurement was not successful as the two tenders submitted both failed to meet the conditions. On 17 September the central bank announced a negotiated procedure with prior publication of tender notice. Three companies submitted their tenders in this procurement, and the one which met Eesti Pank's legal and technical conditions was the tender from STET.

STET (Systèmes technologiques d’échange et de traitement) was founded in December 2004 by six of the largest French banks (Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel, BNP Paribas, Caisse d’Epargne, Banque Populaire, Crédit Agricole SA, and Société Générale) to create a platform for SEPA payments, CORE, which is used by various markets that need SEPA payments. Since the end of 2008, payments through the STET CORE platform have been settled by French banks, and this year STET will start to provide new payment and settlement mechanisms for the Belgian market. 

For further information:
Ingrid Mitt
Public Relations Office
Tel: +372 668 0965, +372 512 6843
Email: ingrid.mitt [at] eestipank.ee