Daily payments in times of serious disruption

The financial markets need to be stable and free of disruption if society is to function properly. Businesses providing key financial market services have an obligation of preparedness, meaning that they need to be ready in the event of serious disruptions and emergencies. Payment traffic and the infrastructure are nevertheless dependent on factors that are somewhat beyond the control of companies operating in Finland.

In order to bolster the resilience of society, backup arrangements have been created for daily payments. To secure payment services that are of crucial importance to society, the Financial Stability Authority will maintain a National Emergency Account System consisting of a National Emergency Account Service and a National Emergency Payment Card Service. The National Emergency Interbank Payment Scheme will also extend to securing payment traffic between banks, for which the Bank of Finland has responsibility.

The government could decide to deploy the National Emergency Account System in a situation where a bank is unable to use its main payment service systems because of a serious disruption or exceptional circumstances.

The National Emergency Account System will allow customers of banks:

  • to transfer funds from, and receive payments into, their account
  • pay with a debit card
  • withdraw cash.

It will be a statutory duty of the Financial Stability Authority to administer the National Emergency Account System and, as with the other operating expenditure of the Authority, the maintenance costs of the system will be covered by administrative fees charged to institutions. If the National Emergency Account System were to be introduced, every bank connected to the system would be liable for the costs incurred in using it.