Electronic Payments

Appleton Greene
The payment system is an operational network – governed by laws, rules and standards – that links bank accounts and provides the functionality for monetary exchange using bank deposits. The payment system is the infrastructure (consisting of institutions, instruments, rules, procedures, standards, and technical means) established to effect the transfer of monetary value between parties discharging mutual obligations. Its technical efficiency determines the efficiency with which transaction money is used in the economy, and risk associated with its use. What makes it a “system” is that it employs cash-substitutes; traditional payment systems are negotiable instruments such as drafts (e.g., checks) and documentary credits such as letter of credits. With the advent of computers and electronic communications a large number of alternative electronic payment systems have emerged. These include debit cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfers, direct credits, direct debits, internet banking and e-commerce payment systems. Some payment systems include credit mechanisms, but that is essentially a different aspect of payment. Payment systems are used in lieu of tendering cash in domestic and international transactions and consist of a major service provided by banks and other financial institutions.