Poland was one of the earliest adopters of real-time payments in Europe and has two systems in place, both launched in 2012. The Express Elixir real-time payments scheme was launched by Krajowa Izba Rozliczeniowa, Poland’s payments clearing system.
BlueCash is the second real-time payments platform in Poland, launched by the Blue Media company. Both platforms enable real-time transfers between bank accounts, operate 24/7/365 and are available to both individuals and businesses. The main difference between Express Elixir and BlueCash is that the former allows transfers between accounts of participating banks, whereas with BlueCash, either the sender or the receiver must be a user of the BlueCash platform.
In 2021, real-time payments represented a 0.7% share of total payments volume, making it a very small share of payment tools compared to electronic payments (excluding realtime payments), which were at 51.5% and paper-based transactions, which were at 47.8%. Future projections for real-time payments are pointing towards a general increase in activities. Real-time volume is expected to reach a CAGR of 39.4% from 2021-2026 and value will grow at a similar CAGR of 37.4% over the same period.
Real-Time Payment Types
Year of Real-Time
2022 will mark a decade since Poland became the second European country to introduce real-time payments in the shape of the Express Elixir real-time payments clearing system. Since then, the BLIK mobile wallet has made online and in-store real-time payments, and real-time P2P transfers, a feature of everyday life.
Poland thus has many of the hallmarks of a mature market for real-time payments. It has already achieved a critical, but stable, mass of adoption thanks to its national real-time payments infrastructure and a digitally savvy population.
Nevertheless, there is considerable room for further growth, and new use cases are needed to chip away at cash’s still significant market share. BLIK is rising to the challenge here, with new functionality such as ATM withdrawals and payments at the point of sale.
However, the market is approaching a technology crossroads that will impact how banks, PSPs and acquirers can best engage with additional new use cases or develop their own.
It may be that Express Elixir and BLIK continue to innovate independently, adding an element of simplicity through familiarity to payments modernization roadmaps. But given PKO Bank Polski’s membership in the European Payments Initiative (EPI), they may respond to this influential bank’s almostinevitable adoption of that scheme’s digital wallet. This will have a consequent significant knock-on effect, especially around acquiring transactions from the newcomer. PKO’s huge market share means EPI could reach critical mass very fast, so its digital wallet strategy and that of the wider EPI project are hugely important factors to monitor.
Mobile Wallet Trends
% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have
used it in the past year (2021)
Real-Time Total Participants
Population Banking Level
Number of debit, credit and
charge cards per adult
Index to global average
F5 Yr CAGR
Payments Fraud Rate
Population who reported being a
victim of fraud in the last 4 years
Top 3 Payment Fraud Types
|% of fraud victims||Trend|
My card was lost or stolen
Card details stolen online
Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument
- Paper-based payments
- Electronic payments
- Real-time payments
Immediate Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f
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Fraud Management Insights
Expanding the Horizons of Fraud Detection - The Network Intelligence Approach to Machine Learning
Defining and Building the Next-Generation Payments Hub - Global survey report from ACI Worldwide and Edgar, Dunn & Company
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