IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Modernizing payment systems in emerging economies


  • Listfield, Robert
  • Montes-Negret, Fernando


The authors address the following questions in this overview of payment systems: What is a payment system? How can efficient systems contribute to the development of modern, market-based financial institutions and markets? What elements are necessary for payment systems to operate efficiently? What are the operational characteristics of a modern payment system? What is the World Bank approach to selected payment system initiatives, design, and development? Effective, efficient payment systems, they conclude, are vital for the economic development of emerging economies. Efficient payment systems help promote the development of commerce, enhance economic policy oversight, control the risk inherent in moving large values, and reduce the financial, capital and human resources devoted to the transfer of payments. Many emerging economies lack the financial and technical resources to develop such systems. Many turn technical resources to develop such systems. Many turn to the World Bank and other international agencies for assistance. Unfortunately, some believe that the entire solution for an effective payment system rests in obtaining modern computer hardware and believe the World Bank's sole contribution is to finance hardware costs. Hardware procurement alone will not solve problems of payment systems. These countries need organizational plans and structure for national payment systems before they spend money on computer equipment. They often lack the expertise to design and operate modern payment systems, so they may need technical assistance from financial experts before they invest in systems development. The design of a new payment system should be kept simple. Many emerging economies lack the infrastructure and banking sophistication to leapfrog from basic to state-of-the-art payment systems. The first task is to fix the most serious problems. The second is to upgrade the current systems incrementally, to meet basic standards of timeliness, security, and reliability. As these improvements are made, the countries can turn their attention to long-term, advanced solutions. Each country's payments system is unique. To simply import another country's system without adjusting for the target country's geography, infrastructure, banking and legal structures, culture, and needs could lead to suboptimal solutions. Development of the system should follow a disciplined plan for defining the needs of users and for organizing the project team and project goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Listfield, Robert & Montes-Negret, Fernando, 1994. "Modernizing payment systems in emerging economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1336, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1336

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lamberte, Mario B., 2001. "The Philippine Payment System: Efficiency and Implications for the Conduct of Monetary Policy," Discussion Papers DP 2001-20, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    2. Martin, Marina B.V., 2009. "Hundi/hawala: the problem of definition," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47415, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1336. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.