Krajowa Izba Rozliczeniowa S.A. (KIR) is a key infrastructure institution of the Polish banking sector, providing clearing and settlement services. KIR’s services are mainly directed at financial institutions, public administration, and the e-commerce sector. The company’s strategic goal is to provide secure and efficient payment processing through its main clearing systems: ELIXIR® for domestic PLN payments, EuroELIXIR for domestic and cross-border EUR payments, and real-time payment system, Express ELIXIR. Volume and value of the debit and credit transfer messages processed in three ELIXIR sessions per working day place KIR among the largest clearing houses in Europe.
The modern-day customer demands universal internet access, rapid information circulation, and instant availability of services. These expectations are also natural among bank customers, who expect money transfers to be processed on the spot. Hence, the development of a payment system, which reduced the time of clearing and settlement procedure to an absolute minimum, was an obvious choice for KIR. Ideally, such a system would allow payments to be processed at any time of the day and funds to be booked on the recipient’s account within seconds. With the objective to provide banks and their customers with real-time money transfer service, available in 24/7 mode, KIR decided to implement an innovative payment solution.
As part of the real-time payment solution implementation plan, KIR prepared a detailed requirements specification for the new system. The main functionalities of the system included:
- Real-time message exchange between system participants
- Real-time payment service maintenance, resulting in fund transfer between sender and recipient bank customers within seconds
- Settlement based on the fiduciary account held for KIR by Narodowy Bank Polski (National Bank of Poland) in the SORBNET2 system.
The system would be flexible enough to meet the bank’s requirements, in terms of applied message formats, accept messages in standards utilized by banks, and fully leverage the IT infrastructure already existing in the banks and KIR.
As a result of a tender procedure initiated by KIR, Capgemini was selected to develop and implement the new payment system. Leveraging international and local expertise in the area of payments, Capgemini managed to overcome several innovational challenges with its own pool of resources. Despite tight deadlines, high-efficiency requirements and safety compliance demands, Capgemini delivered the solution within the agreed schedule. The real-time payment system was launched in June 2012, as the second such solution in Europe after the UK Faster Payment system implemented by VocaLink in 2008.
In June 2012, after Capgemini spent eighteen months working on the project, Express ELIXIR was successfully implemented. KIR launched a working version of the system, connecting the first three banking institutions. Capgemini consultants and engineers supported KIR during the initial phase of system establishment and concept development, taking part in workshops with the banks, as well as in connecting the first three banks to the system.
Thanks to the multi-layer service delivered by Capgemini, Express ELIXIR was launched as an end-to-end payment system. The new solution fits well within the current KIR clearing systems portfolio. Besides meeting the bank customers’ expectations, the system also provides new business options for the banks themselves. It can be the basis for the development of new products (like short term deposits, quick bank loans), resulting in increasing loyalty of current customers of the bank and attracting new customers; this may provide a considerable source of revenue in a very competitive market.