The acceleration in fund transfers due to the increase in the transactions across the integrated global financial markets further increased the importance of payment systems. An efficient and safe payment system, which is compatible with international standards, ensures a sound and efficient financial system by minimizing potential risks. Since this further supports monetary policy and financial stability in general, central banks play roles in ensuring the smooth functioning of payment systems. It is possible to summarize the basic roles of central banks in this context as follows:
Establishing and operating payment systems:
Central banks generally establish and operate the systemically important and most critical payment and securities settlement systems in their countries by themselves.
Oversight of payment systems:
The oversight of payment systems is accepted as a central banking function, in which the keynotes, guidelines and principles related to the payment and securities settlement systems area are determined; the developments in the existing and planned systems are monitored, payment and securities settlement systems are assessed against determined objectives and, where necessary, changes are induced in order to ensure the safe and efficient functioning of these systems. In this context, central banks play active roles in the oversight of all payment systems in a country including the systems which are not operated by themselves.
The regulator of payment systems:
Central banks are authorized to make necessary regulations in order to ensure the smooth, safe, effective and efficient functioning of the payment systems.
Lender of last resort for the payment systems and participants of these systems:
Central banks generally provide various liquidity facilities to payment systems and participants of these systems in order to avoid the contagion effect of a participant's short term liquidity problem (i.e. Intra-day liquidity facility, Late liquidity window, overnight liquidity facility).