New digital platform to facilitate money transfers between Central American banks

January 7, 2014

A new system known as the Foreign Payments Platform (PEX) will allow banks to process transactions in real time with accounts in banks in most Central American countries, Costa Rica’s Central Bank announced on Tuesday.

The PEX platform will connect local banks through the Interconnection of Payments System, another digital platform built by the Central American Monetary Council, an organization that groups the presidents of central banks in the region.

Initially, bank clients will be able to process money transfers from accounts in banks and other financial institutions in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Other regional banks are still in the process of complying with technical requirements to connect to the system.

Carlos Melegatti, the Central Bank’s director of payment systems, said the service will operate like transfers currently made between local banks, and it will allow customers to use it at bank branches, websites and in-store branches at supermarkets.

According to the Central Bank, wire transfers will be credited almost immediately “instead of the two hours minimun wait time banks currently stipulate,” Melegatti said.

However, the service will not be available to customers until each bank implements its connection with PEX.

Costa Rica’s Central Bank presented the project to the Board of the Costa Rican Banking Association (ABC) last year, and according to association president Gilberto Serrano, “It was very well received by all bank managers.”

Serrano said implementation in Costa Rica would take at least the first half of this year to complete.

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