Payment Rail Systems
Karthikeyan Sundaram
Karthikeyan Sundaram
May 23, 2024

BI-Fast: Redefining Payment Systems in Indonesia

In this article, we delve into BI-Fast, Indonesia's 24/7 instant payment system. We'll explore its key features, benefits, and how it is transforming financial transactions across the country. Discover how BI-Fast enhances payment speed, efficiency, and security, making it an essential component of Indonesia’s financial infrastructure.
BI-Fast: Redefining Payment Systems in Indonesia

BI Fast or BI-FAST is an abbreviation of Bank Indonesia Fast Payment, a payment system developed by Bank Indonesia. Launched in December 2021, BI Fast is a national retail payment system infrastructure that can facilitate retail payments in real-time, safely, efficiently, and at any time (24/7).

BI Fast itself is an alternative to the online transfer system provided by banking institutions in Indonesia. Apart from making it easier to make interbank transfers online, there are several other benefits of using BI Fast, namely as follows:

  • Operational hours are 24 hours a day so you can make transactions quickly and practically
  • Real-time-based transaction processing, which means transactions via BI Fast can be processed immediately
  • BI Fast can be accessed via mobile/internet channels or counters and in the future BI Fast will be developed for transactions using QR Code, ATM, and EDC
  • More affordable transfer fees, namely IDR 2,500 per transaction
  • Can transfer using account number, telephone number, or e-mail (proxy address)
  • More complete and automatic security because it is equipped with Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT), fraud detection, and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) features

There are already 77 banks that are participating in BI-FAST. BI Fast also aims to integrate with mobile banking and e-wallet services, further promoting financial inclusion and the shift towards a cashless society. The system is part of Bank Indonesia's strategic initiatives to enhance the national payment system, aligning with global standards and fostering a more competitive financial ecosystem.

The purpose of BI-Fast

BI Fast infrastructure serves a variety of purposes, such as: Support the integration of national payment systems and end-to-end integration of the digital financial economy. It is also aligned with monetary policy and financial system stability of Bank Indonesia.

BI Fast: The process of transactions

Imagine two companies, Jakarta Electronics and Bali Retailers. Jakarta Electronics needs to pay Bali Retailers for a bulk order of consumer electronics. Here’s how the payment process works using BI-FAST in Indonesia:

  • Initiation: Jakarta Electronics initiates a payment to Bali Retailers through its bank, Bank A, using the BI-FAST system.
  • Bank A Processing: Bank A verifies if Jakarta Electronics has sufficient funds in its account. Once confirmed, Bank A sends the payment instruction to the BI-FAST system.
  • BI-FAST Processing: The BI-FAST system processes the payment instantly, ensuring the transaction is secure and funds are available.
  • Settlement: The payment is settled in real-time. The funds are transferred from Bank A to Bank B, where Bali Retailers holds its account.
  • Confirmation: Bali Retailers receives the payment in its account at Bank B immediately. Both businesses receive confirmation of the transaction.

Disadvantages

Despite its many advantages, BI-FAST has some limitations. The system relies heavily on robust internet connectivity and advanced banking infrastructure, which may not be uniformly available across all regions of Indonesia. Additionally, there may be initial costs associated with integrating the system into existing financial operations. Furthermore, while transaction costs are lower, they are not entirely eliminated, which might still pose a burden for very small businesses or individuals. Lastly, as with any digital platform, there is a need for continuous vigilance against cyber threats and fraud.

BI-FAST is revolutionizing the payment landscape in Indonesia by providing a fast, secure, and cost-effective platform for real-time transactions