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PAYMENT SYSTEM

Payment Instruments

 
The most part of noncash payments are carried out in the Republic of Armenia by payment orders, the other part is carried out by other instruments, such as debit orders, checks, cards.
 
Credit payment orders
A credit payment order is the customer’s instruction to the bank to transfer the appropriate amount from his account to a beneficiary. It is the most commonly-used non-cash payment instrument in Armenia, which is due to the fact that it is traditionally-applied and is almost fully regulated in comparison to other payment instruments.Most of the banks’ customers initiate payment by credit payment order in paper-based form. A number of banks however are offering new services to their customers through remote communication between the bank and the customer, i.e. home banking. Credit transfers in the inter-bank segment are mainly initiated in electronic form – via the Central Bank systems
 
Payment by debit orders
 
The usage of payment by debit orders is not yet widely-spread practice among the business entities in Armenia. A debit order is a sub-type of debit instrument which is presented to payment by the recipient, and the payment against which is made only when there are funds available on the payer’s account and when such a payer is accepted.
 
Payment by cards
 
The issuance and service of payment cards in Armenia is carried out via the ArCa unified cards payment system, which was created and introduced at the initiative of the Central Bank and commercial banks operating in Armenia. Currently, member banks of the system issue and service local ArCa cards and international cards Visa and MasterCard. In service now are international cards Diners Club and Amex as well as cards of the HSBC Group.
Apart from cash withdrawal, cardholders now can use the ATMs to pay for public utility services (gas, water, phone, electric energy), check the balance of the card account, and pay for mobile phones’ charge cards.
In 2003, the ArCa system introduced a facility for the payment of public utility services and charge cards for mobile phones. Starting 2004, there has been possibility to make payments in some internet-shops registered in the Internet environment. In September 2005, the ArCa system introduced a facility making it possible to transfer funds from an ArCa card account to another card account via the Internet. Further developing the ArCa system, the Armenian banks continue servicing smart cards of Visa and MasterCard systems in the network of both POS terminals and ATMs. Staring the second quarter of 2007, the member banks of the ArCa system are issuing not only magnetic-stripped cards but also chipped (smart) cards.
The Central Bank has developed and adopted the Procedure ‘Issuance, Acquiring and Distribution of and Implementation of Operations by Payment Cards in Armenia’. This procedure sets the rules for issuance, acquiring and distribution of payment cards and implementation of operations by payment cards. As initiated by the Central Bank, there have been changes and amendments to the procedure on setting requirements to the document substantiating an expense and preparing such a document, whereby certain requirements were set in respect of receipts of payment cards (SLIP) which, once satisfied, can be treated as documents substantiating an expense.
 
Payment by checks
 
In Armenia, traveler checks are not accepted in retail outlets and service centers as a means of payment. These usually can be withdrawn only at banks. Some banks accept traveler checks such as Visa, American Express, Thomas Cook, Citicorp, and provide cash dram or foreign currency to a check-holder as he/she wishes. Some other banks in Armenia accept checks drawn on foreign banks the payment against which is normally made once the check is collected and the payment from the foreign bank is received.
Pursuing to improve and further regulate check circulation in Armenia, the Central Bank adopted the Procedure ‘Issuance, Service and Circulation of Check in Armenia’. The procedure sets the terms and conditions for the usage of checks drawn on the Armenian banks and their branches operating abroad; the rules for filling out checks, the timeframe for presentment of checks and the terms and conditions for collection and payment of checks.
E-money
The number  and volume of e-money transactions has increased  in the past few years in Armenia.
Electronic money (e-money) is pecuniary value expressing a monetary claim against an issuer, which is:
  • maintained in the electronic device;
  • issued against monetary funds received, with a value not less than that of the electronic money issued;
  • accepted as a means of payment by parties other than the issuer.
In 2010, Central bank of Armenia  approved  Regulation 16/1 on “Procedure and terms of providing, suspension and termination of permission to issue electronic money, the requirements towards the issuers of electronic money” and Regulation 16.02 on “Procedure and conditions of issuance and servicing (circulation) of electronic money, the requirements on performing operations with electronic money”. According to this regulations, only banks and money transfer service providers has the right to issue e-money.
 
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