Advancing the Modernization and Integration of Payment Systems in the Western Balkans

Modern payment systems, which ensure that money flows smoothly between the parties involved, are essential for achieving sustainable economic growth in the six Western Balkan economies - Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. At a domestic level, they can promote financial inclusion, reduce cash usage, expand payment products and services, and drive the development of financial technology. Furthermore, at a cross-border level, these systems can foster interoperability and reduce the cost and transaction time of trade and remittances within the Western Balkans, as well as with the European Union (EU).

The Western Balkan economies are making significant progress in aligning their national payment systems with EU standards as part of their accession goals, with support from the World Bank. However, progress has been uneven across the region, with sub-par levels of access and usage of transaction accounts and digital financial services.