National transfers in euros have increased significantly this year. According to data from the Bank of Albania, for the first 10 months of the year, more than 200,000 transfers were made in the European currency in the national euro payment system, AIPS Euro.
Transfers in euros have increased by 66% compared to the same period last year. In value, transfers for the 10-month period reached almost 3.3 billion euros, with an annual increase of 23%.
The increase in the number and value of national bank transfers in euros is an indicator of the further increase in the use of the currency in internal economic transactions in Albania. The increase in inflows in the Balance of Payments has brought more Euros to the Albanian economy and financial system.
Bank of Albania statistics showed that until the end of September, bank deposits in Euros were increasing by 16.5% compared to a year ago.
The AIPS Euro payment system began operation in January 2022, with the aim of reducing the costs of bank transfers in the European currency. Before the establishment of this system, national transfers in Euros could only be made through the use of accounts that Albanian banks have in correspondent banks abroad.
This route created time delays and, above all, much higher costs compared to Lek transfers. The high commissions often caused the customers of the banking sector to move funds from one bank to another through withdrawals and cash transfers.
With the establishment of the Euro AIPS system, the Bank of Albania also determined ceiling values ??that commercial banks can charge their customers for commissions.
For initial payments ordered by clients of the participants and transferred through the AIPS euro system, with a value less than or equal to 10 thousand euros, the total commissions applied by the originating participant for each payment order must not be higher than 0.2% of the transferred value and the commission floor cannot be higher than 6 euros.
For payments that are initiated electronically, the total commissions applied by the originating participant for each payment order must not be higher than 50% of the total commissions applied for each payment initiated non-electronically. This means the implementation of total commissions floor higher than 3 euros, total commissions not higher than 0.1% of the transferred value for value less than or equal to 10 thousand euros.
In total, for the initial payments ordered by clients of the participants and transferred through the AIPS euro system, the total maximum commissions applied by the originating participant for each payment order must not be higher than 50 euros, regardless of the amount. For the transfers made through this system, commissions are not applied for the funds on arrival.
In addition to reducing costs, this project is estimated to have brought positive effects from the point of view of the administration of physical money in euros by banks and the promotion of electronic payments in this segment of the market, encouraging Albanian citizens to use these instruments.