Qatar payment systems processed transactions worth $1.13tn in 2020; QCB

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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In 2020, the payment systems of Qatar processed nearly 134 million transactions worth $1.13 trillion, according to Qatar Central Bank’s (QCB) recent report.

QCB’s latest Financial Stability Review (FSR) found that in terms of the value of transactions, customer payments accounted for 46.8 percent of the total payments in Qatar in 2020, followed by central bank operations which accounted for 36.4 percent and other interbank payments for 16.7 percent.

Among the payment systems operated by QCB, Real-Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) and National ATM and Point of Sale Switch (NAPS) remained the most systemically important systems with RTGS handling 83.1 percent of the total customer and interbank payments in value terms and NAPS handling 90.2 percent of the payments in terms of volume.

The payment system of Qatar consists of several wholesale and retail payment methods that handle the financial transactions, in Qatari riyals, among the banks within Qatar.

It includes RTGS, Electronic Cheque Clearing System (ECCS), QATCH that facilitates settlement of bulk direct credit and direct debit transactions, NAPS and the recently launched Qatar Mobile Payment System (QMPS).

Despite the pandemic, the number of customer and interbank payments settled in the QCB-operated payment systems during 2020 remained almost at the same level as in 2019, although the value declined moderately by 12.6 percent in 2020, mainly due to a reduction in large value transactions, particularly in the second and third quarter of the year.

At the same time, the shift from cash and paper-based payment instruments to electronic payments methods, a trend that was seen during the past, continued in 2020 as well. The progressive role taken by the QCB and the government in fostering domestic payment infrastructures and promoting electronic payments contributed to it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the shift as consumers and merchants have sought to reduce their use of cash and cheques, due to health concerns about handling cheques and banknotes.

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