Bettina Witzmann-Walter__Liechtenstein Bankers Association, Compliance & Payments

ISO 20022 and the QR Bill: an Important Milestone for our neighbor Liechtenstein

The digitalization of the financial industry is a key strategic issue for both the Liechtenstein Bankers Association and its member banks. In their innovation and infrastructure projects, the banks are especially focused on steadily building digital channels and services. Alongside considerable improvements in efficiency resulting from the creation of standardized processes, the main emphasis is on developing and refining innovative and attractive business models for clients.

All this means that the harmonization of Swiss payment traffic with international standards and the implementation of the new QR bill also have substantial implications for digital transformation projects at banks in Liechtenstein.

Another factor contributing to the fundamental importance of efforts to harmonize Swiss payment traffic with international standards is the fact that that Liechtenstein participates in two economic areas. Not only does it enjoy full freedom to provide services in the EU as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA); thanks to a currency and customs union with Switzerland, Liechtenstein also benefits from privileged access to the Swiss economic area. However, this model, unique in Europe, repeatedly confronts Liechtenstein banks with a variety of legal issues and challenges. As a member of the EEA, Liechtenstein is obliged to implement the EU’s regulatory requirements; at the same time, however, the currency union means that Liechtenstein banks are linked to Swiss payment traffic systems. Thanks to the harmonization of Swiss payment traffic with international standards, and in particular the introduction of the new QR Bill, in the future full payment information will be transferred in cross-border payment traffic between Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and compliance with the regulatory requirements will be enabled. Customers of Liechtenstein banks will thus continue to benefit from innovative Swiss payment traffic products within the framework of the neighboring countries’ traditionally close economic ties.