Financial messaging services provider SWIFT has announced adopting the ISO 20022 financial standard to enable the modernisation of cross-border payments.

The first four Payments Clearing and Settlement (pacs) usage guidelines are now available on MyStandards. These guidelines are available for download in multiple formats and supported by the MyStandards Readiness portal for testing.

The guidelines ensure the quality and consistency of data exchanged on the SWIFT network for FI to FI Customer Credit Transfer, FI to FI Institution Credit Transfer, FI to FI Payment Status Report, Payment Return. The CBPR+ group will continue to define further usage guidelines aligned with 'the High Value Payment System (HVPS+) guiding principles, ensuring interoperability with domestic high value payment processing.

Further usage guidelines and functionalities to support the adoption of ISO 20022 will include translation rules to and from the existing MT message types; translation utilities in-network, over APIs and as part of integration products; and an interactive and online translation sandbox.


UK Finance is recommending a minimum 18-month delay to the introduction of Secure Customer Authentication rules in the UK, with a further one-year extension for the hospitality and travel sector.

Taking its lead from the European Banking Authority, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority in June confirmed a delay to the enforcement of stronger payment security standards to give firms more time to prepare.

With the retail sector warning that more than a quarter of payments would fail under the new regime - which demands a two-step verification process for all online purchases over EUR30 - the FCA commissioned UK Finance to draw up an alternative timetable for implementation.

This followed a ruling by the EBA that national authorities could “provide limited additional time” from the initial September 2019 deadline to enable companies to get their act together.

UK Finance is expected to present its recommendations to the FCA next week. They call for a revised March 2021 deadline to implement most of the technical requirements, and a further six months for a full-scale roll out. Companies in the hospitality and travel sector will be given until March 2022 to untangle their “incredibly complex” payment systems.

Discussions are believed to be ongoing among national policy makers over the possibility of co-ordinating the new timetable on a cross-border basis.


In addition to becoming a driving force of the Lithuanian fintech sector, electronic money and payment institutions create expectations to boost market competition. Aiming at the sustainable development of the sector, the Bank of Lithuania has been strengthening the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) and capital requirements set for such institutions.

“Having rapidly expanded over the two last years, the sector is further expected to show a growth spurt in 2019. The need for services provided by such institutions is reflected by not only the growing number of market participants, particularly electronic money institutions, but their income as well. However, on the other side, we also closely monitor their compliance with the set requirements,” said Rūta Merkevičiūtė, Head of the Electronic Money and Payment Institution Supervision Division of the Bank of Lithuania.

Currently, 107 electronic money and payment institutions that account for about a tenth of the country’s payments market carry out their activities in Lithuania. Although their market shares are fairly equal, certain different tendencies can be distinguished: while the share of payment institutions has been growing steadily, that of electronic money institutions has been rising in leaps and bounds – by almost 20 new entrants each year over 2017 and 2018. Last year, Lithuania was ranked first in continental Europe in terms of licensed electronic money institutions. In 2019, the Bank of Lithuania has already granted nearly 10 licences in each financial field and received almost 40 applications for electronic money institution and 6 applications for payment institution licences.

In the first quarter of 2019, electronic money and payment institutions earned more than €12 million in income (compared to 9.2 million a year ago). In 2018, they earned €41 million (1.3 times more than in 2017), 70% of which was generated by electronic money institutions and the remaining 30% – by payment institutions. Almost half of this amount was earned by 3 market participants. As regards income from licensed activities, 10 largest institutions generated 75% of the sector’s total income. In view of the fact that the sector is still evolving, some institutions tend not to earn income from licensed activities in their first year of operation – in 2018, the number of such institutions stood at 32 out of 95 market participants.

In line with its supervisory mandate, the Bank of Lithuania focuses on the following aspects: financial institutions’ compliance with the AML, own funds and customer funds protection requirements (which have to be held separately from the institution’s own funds, usually in another credit institution). Violations which are subject to various sanctions are most commonly registered in these particular fields – in the period from 2014 to June 2019, the Bank of Lithuania revoked one licence, removed the manager of one institution, suspended the voting rights of one shareholder, imposed 7 fines and issued 13 warnings. 2 more licences were revoked due to the fact that the institutions failed to commence their activities.

Internal control systems used by electronic money or payment institutions must function properly from the very first day they start their activities, while the human and financial resources must be focused not only on business development and growth, but on adequate risk control as well. The Bank of Lithuania will further concentrate on the fields of AML and protection of customer and own funds, and plans to start conducting inspections in this respect. Electronic money institutions will also be monitored for their compliance with the open banking (application programming interfaces) and strong customer authentication requirements. Moreover, the Bank of Lithuania is considering the possibility to launch examinations to the managers of electronic money and payment institutions (both the licensed ones and those applying for a licence) to test their ability to properly manage a certain financial market participant.

This year, the number of reports to be submitted by electronic money and payment institutions has also increased. For example, since July 2019, they are required to submit to the Bank of Lithuania quarterly reports for supervision of the implementation of AML/CTF measures as well as information on the provision of their services and restrictions, including statistics on fraud attempts.

The Bank of Lithuania has noticed that some institutions tend to ensure their compliance with the own funds requirements only after the reporting date and has drawn their attention to the fact that the minimum amount of their own funds must correspond to that set out in legal acts. 6 institutions increased their authorised or reserve capital, or covered incurred losses to meet their own funds requirement after 31 December 2018. The licence of an electronic money institution that was inactive for more than 12 months and failed to comply with the own funds requirements was revoked.

Additional information
Payment institutions can perform money remittances, payment transactions, provide payment initiation, account information, cash deposit or withdrawal services, conduct direct debit or credit transfers and currency exchange operations. Electronic money institutions can offer the same services as payment institutions and issue electronic money – prepaid funds held in electronic devices which can be used to pay for goods and services.

Seeking to encourage competition and fintech development, the Bank of Lithuania provides eligible electronic money and payment institutions with access to its payment system CENTROlink which offers the widest range of SEPA services in the Nordic-Baltic region. Once members of the CENTROlink system, institutions can provide direct debit services and make instant payments 24/7/365.


Canopus Innovative Technologies LLC, developer of core banking software and various software solutions for payment service providers and a long-term Decta’s partner, has recently introduced to Decta its associated company Advapay OÜ, which in its turn, becomes a new affiliate of Decta.

Unlike most of the players on fintech IT solutions market nowadays, Canopus Innovative Technologies LLC (further - Canopus IT) has not been incorporated in 21st century. The company has over 27 years of experience in developing various IT solutions for a vast diversity of financial service companies, from banks to money remitters. Canopus IT have started their business with software development for small and medium sized banks. Having gained experience, reputation and market share in banking IT sector, the company realized that their potential is far beyond incumbent banks that are often rigid to innovations. With the introduction of the first payment services directive in 2007, the fintech market opened up, and Canopus IT started to offer out of the box modular core payment software solutions to payment service providers and electronic money institutions. Ten years later, Canopus IT, through its associated company Advapay OÜ, co-invested into establishment of PayAlly Limited in the United Kingdom, a licensed payment institution regulated by the FCA, that is providing payment ecosystem services for small to medium e-commerce businesses and persons. Needless to say, that PayAlly is using state of the art core payment software developed by Canopus IT and is actively participating in further development and evolution of the product. From day one, PayAlly has become a client of Decta Limited and rolled out e-commerce and prepaid card products developed by Decta to its clients. In 2019 Decta Limited deployed Canopus IT core software solution in order to manage ever-growing business lines on a single platform.

The third line of Canopus IT group operations is Advapay OÜ, a fintech business integrator. Providing IT technology, financial and legal consultancy services, Advapay is helping their clients to setup, develop and operate their fintech companies from scratch. Very often talented entrepreneurs with great ideas are lacking experience and knowledge when it comes to licensing of a payment services provider, regulatory compliance, reporting obligations, and other issues on their way to creating a new unicorn. Advapay can address these issues and assist fintech innovators from day one throughout their development process. There are many synergies between Decta and Advapay, and significant opportunities for the future cooperation. First, alike their related company PayAlly, Advapay uses Decta e-commerce services. Secondly, due to the match of both companies’ client needs, a partnership agreement opens for Decta’s clients an opportunity to receive competent advice on fintech company establishment, licensing, infrastructure, IT solutions, business models and relations with credit institutions. Advapay clients, in turn, will be referred to Decta as a reliable, experienced and time-tested partner as payment service provider, e-commerce processor and payment card issuer.

Maxim Ivanchenko, CEO of Advapay, states: "It has been a long and successful cooperation by now, and we see large potential in a more profound alliance. Not only will it strengthen our business network, it will allow our clients to reach their goals faster, keeping quality at the highest level and money safe. Decta are experts in payment industry, as we are".

Santa Krišbauma, Vice-president, Product Development, Issuing: "Finding synergies is rarely possible in a short period of time. First you must build trust, prove expertise, show responsiveness to the queries. Luckily, we have passed through this step, and now we can complement our offer to clients with the services of our partner."


Payments giant Mastercard is seeking to hire a number of blockchain professionals, including several senior roles, in an apparent effort to develop cryptocurrency and wallet products.

According to the company’s career website, Mastercard is looking for a senior blockchain engineer and engineering lead, director for product development and innovation, vice president for product management and director of product management for cryptocurrency and wallets.

Other senior roles Mastercard is looking to fill also mention expertise in the blockchain tech, for example, vice president of network tech product management, director of payments platform and networks, senior analyst for strategic program management and others.

Related: Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Adds Wallet App from Blockchain Phone Rival Pundi X

The director of product management for cryptocurrency and wallets, according to the description, will be expected to “lead the ideation, definition, design, and development of innovative crypto currency solutions, including wallet solutions,” and have an experience in this field.

Along with the director for product development and innovation, vice president for product management, the wallet director is in charge of Mastercard’s patent portfolio and filing new patent applications. Other than that, there are few specifics about the new role, but the job description speaks of the crypto industry quite favorably, asking a potential candidate:

“Do you have the courage to look into the eyes of disruptive forces without fear, and maneuver them to your advantage?

Do you have the desire to work at the cutting-edge intersection of payments and crypto-currencies?

Do you have the ambition to build something which you can narrate to your grandchildren?”

If the answer is yes — Mastercard is the right place for such a candidate, the description suggests.

Related: Abra App to Restrict Services for US Users Over Regulatory Issues

The new leadership team is further supposed to advocate blockchain concepts within Mastercard itself. According to the description of the director’s and VP positions, they will need to “establish shared vision across the company by influencing and building consensus among the various stakeholders.”

Mastercard is a member of the Libra Association — a loose cross-industry consortium tentatively supporting the launch of Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency, Libra. Facebook itself is now actively recruiting personnel for its native wallet, Calibra, but has pledged to allow free competition of wallets inside of the Libra ecosystem during the House and Senate hearings in July.

Mastercard image via Shutterstock