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Erste Bank enables instant payments in Hungary

Digital process solutions firm valantic has announced a project in Hungary to deliver a comprehensive real-time Open Banking solution for the customers of the Erste Bank Hungary. The subsidiary company of the Erste Bank Group Vienna operates one of the largest branch networks in Hungary. In addition to real-time payments around the clock, the customers can also use request-to-pay functions for making payment requests.

For more than 20 years, valantic has developed software for payment, investment banking and transaction management. With the customised solution on the basis of valantic’s real-time payment engine (RTPE), Erste Bank Hungary now provides a modular structured payment hub solution. The development is based on regulations of the Central Bank of Hungary (MNB), which aim to promote the electronic processing of transactions. At Erste Bank Hungary, money transfers take seconds instead of several hours - every day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

E-mail or telephone number instead of IBAN

The integration of valantic’s RTPE in the existing bank environment is easily managed. The rules for controlling the settlement processes are centrally configured and parametrised. Currently, standard payment formats like SEPA (payment, direct debit, card payment), SWIFT, CGI (Common Global Implementation) or local currency standards, such as Hungarian forints (HUF), are supported. These formats are extended by instant payments for SEPA (SCTInst) as well as other country-specific currencies.

The project at Erste Bank is based on regulations that are mandatory in Hungary and have to be fulfilled by the financial institutions. “With regards to electronic banking, Hungary is now in the front position,” said Sertac Cetiner, head of Payments at valantic. “Before the go-live, a comprehensive testing phase took place under control of the Central Bank of Hungary. In March, the project at Erste Bank Hungary could successfully be completed thanks to the great cooperation between Erste Bank Hungary and valantic.”

Currently, Erste Bank Hungary is the only bank in Hungary supporting those request-to-pay functions, so that, for the time being, only intrabank payment requests are possible.

“For the Hungarian payment industry, instant payments are an important milestone which enables new business models and fulfils customer expectations which are now much more dynamic than some years ago,” added Reka Schreiber, Head of Operations, from Erste Bank Hungary. New in RTPE is that, in addition to the conventional IBAN identification, customers can use their telephone number or e-mail address as ID for verification in the new payment system.

Conformity with SWIFT and ISO 20022

RTPE from valantic supports all relevant SWIFT and ISO 20022 standards in the pain, pacs and camt formats, including required variants. Additionally, RTPE is multi-client and multi-channel capable, so payment instructions can be processed across different channels, such as e-banking or corporate banking. All instructions are validated on various levels against format rules, EPC rules and bank-specific rules.

A high-performance mapping engine allows the conversion from any format used by the payment submitter. The settlement processes are centrally controlled and a single point of truth enables a central filing of all processed instructions, payments and bookings. The example of Erste Bank Hungary shows how the RTPE can be customised to the requirements of local markets and the banks.


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