On 12 May 2022, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) issued a final report on extending and aligning payment system operating hours for cross-border payments.

The final report focuses on the operating hours of real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems as key payment systems to enhance cross-border payments. Key points in the final report include:

  • An extension of RTGS systems’ operating hours across jurisdictions could speed up cross-border payments, improve liquidity management, reduce settlement risk and enhance the performance of ancillary payment systems that may be used for cross-border payments.
  • Extending the operating hours of RTGS systems cannot, by itself, address slow speed or other challenges affecting cross-border payments.
  • The realisation of the enhancements to cross-border payments relies on progress across the building blocks in the G20 cross-border payments programme. The extension and greater alignment of the operating hours of RTGS systems will contribute to addressing the slow speed and other challenges affecting cross-border payments, as well as enabling the impact of other building blocks.

The final report also presents three potential scenarios for extending RTGS system operating hours (“end states”) and associated operational, risk and policy considerations. The three scenarios range from an incremental increase in operating hours on current operating days (e.g. standard working days), to an increase to include current non-operating days (e.g. weekends and holidays) and finally an extension to full 24-hour and seven-day-a-week (24/7) operations.

The report also proposes the “global settlement window” – a new concept reflecting the time period during which the largest number of RTGS systems are simultaneously operating – as a key consideration for central banks assessing potential end states for RTGS operating hours. At present, the global settlement window is best characterised as the time period from 06:00 to 11:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on working days. This is broadly the five-hour period when, on average, the highest number of CPMI and non-CPMI RTGS systems are concurrently operating across all jurisdictions covered in this report.