DFSP Settlement in Real-Time Retail Payments Systems: June 2020 Update

By Glenbrook Partners Executive Summary: Inter-institutional settlement is a key component of interoperable payments systems. The goal of these settlement systems is to provide a mechanism for institutions to settle their obligations while minimizing risks and costs to individual institutions and to the whole system. Operational efficiency is a secondary… Read More

QR Code Payments Landscape: Oct 2019

By Glenbrook Partners This is a landscape review of QR Payments models around the world, with an emphasis on developments in emerging economies. In this report, we describe the various models, with particular attention to how QR code implementations connect with the underlying payments systems used to process the payments. Read More

Enabling Digital Financial Services in Humanitarian Response

Humanitarian response agencies are increasingly turning to digital payment systems as the sector accelerates its transition from using in-kind to cash-based aid. As the Level One Project looks to inform the design of country-wide digital financial systems that extend access to the poor, the digitization of high volume, low value… Read More

Mobile Wallet Solution

The document identifies the specific capabilities of a mobile wallet intended to meet the core needs of very poor people, enabling them to make or receive payments and access funds through a mobile device. This document also includes specific mobile wallet capabilities to support the unique requirements of humanitarian response… Read More

Interoperability Service for Transfers

This document outlines the detailed requirements for the IST solution envisioned in The Level One Project Guide that would help drive widespread adoption of digital payments as an alternative to cash in developing countries. Download PDF… Read More


Operating rules cover the types of fees that participants need to pay, either to the scheme or to each other. Rules do not include the fees that participants pay to processors or operators chosen by the participant. Rules specify what the fees are, how they are assessed, collected, and changed. Read More

Use Case Rules

Operating rules may have separate sections for different transaction types or use-cases. For example, merchant payments may have a discrete rule set, as could payments to a business from a consumer, or from one consumer to another. If the scheme has interchange (see ‘Fees-Interchange’), there may be different rates for… Read More

Brand Usage

If the scheme has a common brand or service mark, the operating rules will cover how it may be used. The Financial Inclusion Perspective The operating rules should define and encourage the use of common terminology for the payments services that are using the system. This is not meant to… Read More

Risk Management

Transaction Liability In a real-time credit-push system, it can be assumed that the sending participant is responsible for the sending end-party having the funds necessary for the transaction: this does not need to be specified in the rules. The rules do need to address at what point the transaction is… Read More


Inter-Participant Settlement Operating rules will specify how inter-participant settlement occurs. This may be a scheme-specific settlement process, or it may take advantage of an existing process existing, for example, at the central bank of the country. In either event, the rules will specify when the settlement will occur and how… Read More

Transaction Processing

Timelines Rules establish the required timelines for submitting transactions, posting transactions to end-users accounts (may vary by transaction type), submitting exception transactions, etc. If participants use a third party (non-scheme) operator there may be additional requirements in the operating circulars of the operator. The industry is undergoing a shift from… Read More


Message Formats: Rules determine data requirements and message formats; some data requirements may be specific to certain transaction types. Schemes may have their own proprietary message formats, or may rely on international standards such as ISO20022. An important aspect of the message format is identifying the transaction type: this is… Read More

Participant Responsibilities

Responsibilities to comply with the operating rules Details the participants’ responsibility to comply with the operating rules and cooperate in the running of the scheme (example: Faster Payments, Section 4) Responsibilities as a sending participant (transferring money to another participant) Operating rules will have provisions to specify the responsibility of… Read More


The glossary is a definition of terms within the private operating rules. This includes defining entities who are affected by the rules, including participants (direct, and in some cases, indirect), operators, processors, third parties, etc.As an example, here is a link to the L1P Glossary. Please note, this glossary… Read More


Ownership: These rules (or provisions in the scheme by-laws) specify who owns the scheme; how ownership can change in the future; and how the scheme board operates.Membership: Rules (or provisions in the scheme by-laws) specify who may join the scheme as a participant. There may be requirements for capital adequacy… Read More

Blockchain Technologies

The non-hub model may be more conducive to eventually using the “transport” capabilities of emerging blockchain technologies. The potential for dramatically lower costs with these technologies is of particular interest for financial inclusion. Read More

Switch: How Should Transactions be Routed?

This issue pre-supposes that the “scheme interoperability” option has been chosen. (See Issue: Interoperability)Any multi-participant payments scheme requires a switching functionality to pass transactions from one participant to another. There are a variety of models in payments systems today that can be considered. A central “hub” switch is operated by… Read More

Participation: What Categories of DFS Providers Should be Permitted?

The Level One Project Guide uses the term “participation” to refer to entities who are direct members of a payments scheme: the Digital Financial Services (DFS) Providers. The payments scheme is the entity which writes and maintains the rules that bind these scheme participants. Note that participation is not necessarily… Read More

Mandates on Interoperability

Many countries are also dealing with the question of whether or not interoperability should be mandated by regulation, or left to the market to lead. There are pros and cons to this issue, and there will be considerable variability from country to country in how this is handled, particularly given… Read More

Governance: Who Should Govern the Payments Scheme Within a Country?

Who governs the payments scheme or organization within a country? With a closed-loop structure, the question is obvious: the scheme is owned and governed by the provider of the system. With an open-loop system, or with interoperating closed-loop systems, there is a question of who governs either the system or… Read More

Identity and Biometrics

A persistent identifier, for both consumers and businesses, is a key element in managing fraud. Without this, a bad actor can simply assume a new identity. The use of a national identifier is a “best practice” for emerging digital financial systems. If the national identity system is not sufficiently deployed,… Read More

Linking Mobile and Account Identification

Identification is becoming an increasingly interesting and relevant topic in digital financial services. Please view the following articles that discuss mobile identification as well as linking mobile ID to bank account identification. Mobile Pay Players Focused on Biometrics Authentication The expansion of mobile money in the developing world has… Read More

Fraud Management: Where Should Fraud Be Managed?

There are many aspects of risk management in the operation of any payment system. In this section, we look specifically at fraud management. In most traditional payments systems, the service providers (normally banks) assume responsibility for detecting fraud in payments to/from their end-customers. This includes correctly managing the “know your… Read More

More on Fee Structure

In thinking through developing a vibrant digital financial system, issues such fee structure are critically important, particularly for the bottom of the pyramid. We have curated articles and whitepapers on these specific issues below, which we encourage you to read and discuss. Fighting Poverty Profitably In this report, the… Read More

Guest Opinion: The Importance of a Common Brand

May 2015:Carolina Trivelli is responsible within ASBANC, the Peruvian banking association charged with developing “Modelo Perú,” the new mobile money service mandated by federal legislation in 2014. Carolina was formerly the Minister of Development and Social Inclusion for Perú, and is committed to making “Modelo Perú” an instrument for financial… Read More

Brand: Should There be a Common Brand or Service Mark?

How do the two parties to a payment transaction tell each other they are going to pay? Sometimes, this is done with a payment system brand (“Do you take Visa?”) and sometimes with a common term (“May I give you a check?”). In a country-wide digital financial system, should there… Read More

International Remittances

Leveraging a digital financial services system like the one described in the Level One Project Guide for international remittance payments offer a strong opportunity for the developing world. Remittances currently account for approximately $540 Billion USD a year in transactions and the number of remittances are actually increasing year-to-year. Meanwhile, the… Read More

Agents: Should Agents Be Exclusive to Providers?

Reaching a broad population of unbanked consumers to provide financial services is a challenge in many countries. Both banks and non-banks have used agents (affiliated but not owned third parties), as permitted by regulations, to deliver aspects of financial services or (in the case of MNO’s) to handle the sale… Read More