On 10 May 2012, payments sector experts met at the Payments Forum, arranged by the Bank of Finland for the sixth time. The first theme of the Forum dealt with challenges concerning the future development and security of European retail payments. The second theme focused on Finnish perspectives on contingency preparations to safeguard the daily payment traffic.
Migration to SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) credit transfer and SEPA direct debit has emphasised the need to also develop other payment methods. The European Commission has published a Green Paper and organised a public consultation, which provide the basis for its future measures concerning card, internet and mobile payments. The security of retail payments has gained growing arrention due to, for example, the increase in card fraud and internet banking hacking activities. The European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and national supervisory authorities have intensified their cooperation by establishing the European Forum on the Security of Retail Payments (SecuRe Pay).
Finnish society is highly dependent on electronic payment methods, such as card payments and credit transfers. Any disruptions in the processing of these payments can have a wide-scale impact on society. To safeguard the daily payment traffic, all participants in the payment chain should ensure that their contingency arrangements are adequate.
In his opening remarks to the Payments Forum, Erkki Liikanen, Governor of the Bank of Finland, emphasised the importance of reliable and secure payments: even a short disruption can have an adverse impact on the day-to-day business of consumers and companies, and longer disruptions may paralyse the whole economy.
"Reliable and efficient payment systems are the backbone of our economy. Secure payment systems are a prerequisite for sustainable growth, employment and the welfare of Finnish society. Each participant in the payment chain must ensure that the key payment instruments can be used smoothly and without disruptions ", underlined Mr Liikanen.
The objective of the Payments Forum is to bring Finnish payment sector participants together and contribute to creating a joint vision for the development of payments. A joint vision will provide a basis for pushing development in the desired direction, both nationally and in European fora. In connection with the Payments Forum, the Federation of Finnish Financial Services arranged a SEPA forum, already the fourth.
For more information on the Payments Forum, please contact Marianne Palva, Adviser, (email:marianne.palva(at)bof.fi, tel.  +358 10 831 2304). For more details on the SEPA forum, please see the webpage of the Federation of Finnish Financial Services (www.fkl.fi).