This post is part of our Closing the Gap: Financial Inclusion blog series, which shares the views of experts and practitioners on different financial inclusion topics.
Financial institutions and market authorities have moved payment systems from the backroom to the boardroom in recognition of the critical role that a well-functioning payment system plays in supporting financial systems and real economies. A sound and efficient infrastructure to process modern payment instruments has the potential to enhance financial inclusion. Widespread use of electronic payment instruments could also create significant savings for governments and other stakeholders.
The World Bank has been paying increasing attention to payment system development as a key component of a country’s financial infrastructure, and has committed to periodically collect and update information on the status of payment and settlement systems worldwide to both enhance knowledge on these matters and help guide reform efforts.
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The most recent World Bank Global Payment Systems Survey contains information on: the legal and regulatory framework underpinning a national payments system, large-value payment systems, retail (or low-value) payment instruments and services including the latest innovations, foreign exchange settlement systems and international remittances and cross-border payments, among other topics. The study is important because it provides a ‘snapshot’ of payment systems worldwide covering 139 countries and serves as an important reference in shaping the international agenda on payment systems issues. The next iteration of the World Bank Global Payment Systems Survey will be launched in July 2012.