A virtual conference on developments in the payments landscape in Israel was held on Monday, February 28, 2022.  At the conference, the Bank of Israel presented developments in the domestic payments market, including a central bank initiative to convert paper checks to digital format; measures to increase the use of instant payments between accounts; payment initiation by nonbank entities using open banking; licensing nonbank entities as payment service providers; implementing the ISO20022 global standard to enrich information in payment messages; improving the cost and time for cross-border payments; establishing a business intelligence (BI) system to gather data from all supervised payment systems; upgrading and replacing the ZAHAV (RTGS) system; and more.


The conference was opened by Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Amir Yaron, who delivered remarks relating to digital payments as a strategy for developing the Israeli economy. (His remarks, and the entire conference, can be viewed here.)


There were also presentations on initiatives that already launched in the area of payments, including the implementation of contactless payments throughout the economy, through plastic payment cards and digital wallets, including those of international technology companies; the licensing of entities that will soon operate in the payment systems—a new bank, new acquirers, a credit union; the launch of bank, retail, and transportation payment applications; the regulation of digital assets; and more.


The conference took place following the publication of a comprehensive review of developments in the payments system by the Bank of Israel’s Payment and Settlement Systems Department in December, which included data from 2018–2020 and updates from 2021.  The review (in Hebrew) can be downloaded from the Bank of Israel’s website, and will soon be published in English.