Payment System Development in Guyana

Project Development Objective (PDO)

This program aims to support the Government of Guyana in the development of safe and efficient payment systems through the establishment of a comprehensive legal and regulatory and oversight framework and rules to govern the National Payment System (NPS).


In Guyana, access to financial services appears adequate as evidenced by adequate deposit and credit depth and ownership of transaction accounts is widespread. However, the usage of financial services is low in part due to the nascent stage of Guyana’s NPS development. The economy remains heavily cash based and accounts are rarely used. Nearly all payments by individuals and small entities continue to be conducted in-person in cash. Available electronic payment services lack the interoperability, including across commercial banks, which enable such services to be viable and cost-effective. In addition, physical access to points of service for electronic transactions is sparse. Remote access to electronic transaction services, such as e-money services and bank account transactions, is also limited. Only one entity offers e-money services, specifically, mobile money services, and they have yet to reach sufficient scale to enable users to conduct more than a few bill payments via the service.  

The cost of cash study conducted in October 2015, surveyed Guyana’s retail payment costs with payment instruments used by consumers and government agencies. The result of the study highlighted the extensive usage of cash in Guyana, nearly 99.9 percent of all transactions. Consumers pay nearly 2.45 percent of GDP to utilize cash, while it costs the Government 0.13 percent of GDP. Substituting paper-based payment instruments with electronic ones for consumers can save up to 1% of GDP and the Government can save 0.04 percent of GDP. This study therefore support the need for the modernization of the payment system in Guyana.

The absence of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework and key payment clearing and settlement infrastructures create insurmountable barriers to advancing the development of Guyana’s NPS, and therefore, the provision of payment services that meet the needs of the economy. This FIRST project would therefore complement the Guyana payments system reform by supporting the development of a robust legal and regulatory framework and policy framework governing the reformed system.

Activities / Output

The expected activities include the following:

1. Drafting of the national payment and settlement system law and implementing regulations

2. Development and implementation of a NPS oversight framework including the necessary tools and capacity building.

3. Drafting of the Rulebook of the ATS

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes are:

1. Comprehensive legal and regulatory framework to govern the NPS established, providing legal clarity and certainty of payments and settlement activities

2. Strengthened institutional policies, tools and capacity to oversee the NPS to minimize and mitigate risks 

3. Clearly defined rules for the safe and efficient performance of the new payment infrastructure, including participation, settlement finality, responsibilities of participants, risk mitigation measures in place