Payments between banks, enterprises, public institutions and private persons are mainly carried out in cashless form nowadays. It is much safer and more convenient to make payments via bank accounts rather than with cash for larger payments in particular. Disruptions to payments impair trade and industry and can undermine confidence in the currency. Payments are therefore one of the key tasks of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and by extension also of the Deutsche Bundesbank.
The Bundesbank ensures the smooth functioning of domestic and foreign payments. For this purpose, it provides settlement and clearing services. Moreover, the Bundesbank, as part of the ESCB, is involved in creating a common standard for European payments. It is also responsible for monitoring payments; in doing so, it makes an important contribution to maintaining and strengthening the stability of the financial system.
The structures of cashless payments vary from country to country, which often renders cross-border payments cumbersome and slow. In order to make cashless payments simpler, more efficient and more secure across Europe, the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) was created in 2008. SEPA offers uniform procedures and standards for transfers and direct debits.
The electronic payment system TARGET2 forms the technical basis for the secure and rapid settlement of cashless payments within the European Union by enabling banks to transfer large amounts in a matter of seconds. Since November 2007, TARGET2 not only allows banks to make payments in real time; it also helps them save liquidity. Additionally, it promotes financial integration in Europe as the system settles not only interbank but also customer payments. TARGET2 is based on a single technical platform and offers all participants services at standardised prices for both domestic and cross-border payment transactions. payment transactions.