Turkey launches its own national payment clearing system

Turkey launches its own national payment clearing system

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Turkey launches its own national payment clearing system

CİHAN photo

Turkey has launched a new electronic card payment clearing system, the InterBank Card Center (BKM) has announced Sept. 30.  

The system, named “TROY,” will be operational from April 1, 2016, the Center said.

“It is time that Turkey used its [own] payment system,” Soner Canko, chairman of the Istanbul-based BKM, said on Sept. 30.

Electronic payment cards are processed by merchants, and then sent to a clearing network, which completes the payment. Visa and Mastercard were previously the choice for this operation.

But, starting next April, Turkish banks will be able to clear payments with a new national system.

“We are pleased to have our own brand, which you will see at the bottom-right corner of every [debit or credit] card,” Canko said.

He said that TROY would be a first for the country, adding that the three-year project constitutes “a historic moment.”

“This payment system also is a product of 25 years’ experience,” Canko added, describing TROY as “a strategic step” for Turkey.

However, he did not reveal how much the center invested in developing the payment system.

In Turkey, there are 164 million bank cards in total, with 106 million of these being credit cards. Turks have spent a total of $400 billion on debit and credit cards to date. BKM’s CEO said every Turk carries at least two cards in his or her wallet.

Yet, still most Turkish people prefer cash payment, as cards only constitute 40 percent of all transactions.

Canko said that the TROY payment system would appeal to those who still choose cash because the fee for using the card will be lower than that charged by the international card networks. In this way, the system will lead to more savings and greater innovation, Canko said.

The system will be managed by the BKM card center but banks will be able to choose the national system or another.

He also ruled out any rivalry with Visa and Mastercard.

Developed countries including Germany, France and Italy, have launched their own national payment systems as well, according to Canko.

States with similar economies to Turkey, such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the so-called BRICs), have been considering introducing payment systems. Canko said that Turkey would not be the first country to introduce one such system.

Canko said the center had received substantial support from the Central Bank, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency and banks during the development phase of the payment system.

The BKM was established with the partnership of 13 public and private Turkish banks in 1990. The BKM says that it aims to provide solutions to common challenges of banks and develop rules and standards for credit and debit cards.