Cross-border retail payments (MASSE/IMPay)
The MASSE payment system was established in the wake of the indemnification payments made by the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s.
To this day, the Deutsche Bundesbank executes cross-border payments in euro and foreign currencies for public cash offices and private institutions which are endowed with a public mandate. In this context its main area of activity is the settlement of regularly recurring payments (eg pension payments, statutory pension and accident insurance payments, supplementary pension payments and accident insurance pension payments, indemnification payments, support payments and child benefit payments). However, as a matter of principle, the Deutsche Bundesbank may also be called on to make one-off payments (eg tax refunds).
In order to settle these payments the Bundesbank makes use of its access to a network of correspondent banking relationships with foreign commercial banks and central banks. At present, most payments of this kind are destined for beneficiaries in Croatia, Israel and Serbia.
How payments are settled
Currently, around 300,000 payments are settled each month using the MASSE system. These payments mainly consist of remittances to countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) and foreign currency payments. By contrast, euro retail payments within the EU/EEA can be settled as SEPA credit transfers using the CAM-SEPA. On a specified submission date, the payer submits the payment data to the Bundesbank electronically by means of the ExtraNet and sends a separate accompanying order slip bearing a legally binding signature. Settlement of the payment orders contained in the file is effected on a pre-determined date. The data are transmitted via SWIFTor ExtraNet after consultation with the respective correspondent bank. This institution then passes the payment on to the payee either by crediting the payment amount directly to the payee’s account, forwarding the amount to the payee’s payment service provider with the request that they credit it to the relevant account or by issuing and sending a cheque.
In the event of overpayment, the payer may demand the return of any wrongly awarded payments. These may be due to the loss/revocation of the basis for a pension, the death of the payee or changes in the payee’s data. The reclaim instruction sent by the payer to the Bundesbank is forwarded to the correspondent bank.