1 October 2020
How Instant Payments influences consumers' payment behavior on Aruba
Instant payments are now available on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. Facilitating this, is the new instant payments solution called I-Pago, which is the trademark for the instant payment services provided in Aruba. I-Pago is an important step forward in the innovation of the payment infrastructure of Aruba. The Centrale Bank van Aruba (CBA) partnered with equensWorldline because of its decades-long experience with interbank payments processing and its proven track record with real-time payments processing, as the largest instant payments processor in the Eurozone. The implementation of this new payment rail is unique, because the entire banking community in Aruba has completely switched from traditional batch payments to instant payments since January 2020. All interbank payments initiated in Aruban florin are now processed instantly, 24/7/365.
A great step for Aruba, but also a major challenge because all the commercial banks had to switch to instant payments in one ‘big bang’. Rayenne Donata, Manager Payment Systems Department of the CBA, explains about the implementation of instant payments in Aruba.
What was the main reason to choose for instant payments in your country?
Donata: “I-Pago was introduced in response to the increasing demand from consumers and businesses for a faster and more efficient transfer of funds. Before the introduction of instant payments, it could take up to three working days to transfer funds in Aruban florin from one account at a commercial bank to an account at another commercial bank.”
I-Pago was launched in January 2020, in close cooperation with the commercials banks. I-Pago is an important step forward in the innovation of the payment infrastructure of Aruba, and in achieving our ambitions, which are the following:
I. Benefit all stakeholders: All stakeholders/users of the Aruban payment infrastructure should profit from the modernized payment system;
II. Leapfrog the state of Aruba’s payment infrastructure: This aims at upgrading the Aruban payment infrastructure and to leapfrog it into a Caribbean frontrunner.
Are you satisfied with the steps you made so far?
Donata: “Yes, we are satisfied. We went for a big bang implementation, switching to instant payments from one day to the other. And as I said before, it is a big step forward for us, but it is just the beginning. We are improving the payment infrastructure step by step. The first phase was all about interbank transfers. The next step is to move to the execution of phase 2 of the project, as soon as possible. To this end, we are working on a roadmap for this phase. While the designing hereof is not fully ready, instant instore and e-commerce payments will be included in this next phase.”
Do you see a difference in payments behaviour on your island already?
Donata: “As mentioned before, prior to instant payments it could take up to three working days to transfer funds from one bank account to another bank account at a different commercial bank. This delay was a major source of irritation for the clients, hampering quick access to needed funds. This is why peer to peer transactions were mostly cash-based. Since the implementation of instant payments, we are already seeing a shift to more digital payments/transfers. We don’t think that this is entirely due to the transition to instant payments, because COVID-19 also plays a role here, as people prefer not to use cash for hygienic reasons.”
How important is the creation of an instant payment rail for economic growth on your island?
Donata: “Instant payments is essential for growth. It has a positive impact on our economy, for example the cash flow benefits for the merchants, because funds are now available instantly on their bank accounts. Now they don’t have to wait three working days for obtaining their funds. In addition, instant is also part of the new era of digitalization. Nowadays everything is instant, from email, SMS to WhatsApp. So, it makes sense that we also pay and receive money instantly, right? As you have noticed, I only see advantages and new interesting business opportunities for Aruba in the near future.”