Payment systems in Poland: Elixir, Express Elixir and BLIK explained

Matthieu Blandineau
June 2024
min read

With dozens of PIs and EMIs, 3.4 billion account-to-account payments per year and instant payments more than doubling in volume in 2022 (last available statistics), Poland is a thriving market for payment services.

As a SEPA member, Poland’s banks and financial institutions can offer SEPA payments for Euro payments. However, Poland’s official currency is the Polish złoty (PLN), which isn’t supported by the SEPA schemes.

In this article, we explore Poland's local payment systems.

Poland’s large-value payment systems


Narodowy Bank Polski, the central bank of Poland, oversees two large value payment systems: TARGET2-NBP, the Polish legal leg of Eurosystems’ real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system, and SORBNET2, Poland’s RTGS system for PLN payments.

All payments on Polish retail payment systems are ultimately settled on TARGET2-NBP for EUR payments or SORBNET2 for PLN payments. Let’s detail them.


  • Launch date: 1994

  • Currency: PLN

  • Operated by: KIR

  • Settlement: Business days, 11am, 3pm, 5.30pm

  • Fee per payment: PLN 0 to PLN 2 (EUR 0 to EUR 0.45)

  • Maximum payment amount: no limit

Launched in 1994, Elixir is Poland’s first electronic interbank clearing system and has the status of a systemically important payment system. It is operated by KIR, an infrastructure institution established on the initiative of the Polish Bank Association, 16 Polish banks and the Polish Central Bank Narodowy Bank Polski.

It processes PLN credit payments, direct debits and checks. Elixir is mostly used for low-value standard payments as well as all social insurance and tax payments.

Elixir payments are settled during one of three daily sessions on business days, resulting in settlements in a few hours.

In addition to being used as a retail payment system, third-party payment systems also rely on Elixir to settle their payments.

Express Elixir

  • Launch date: 2012

  • Currency: PLN

  • Operated by: KIR

  • Settlement: 24/7/365

  • Fee per payment: PLN 0 to PLN 10 (EUR 0 to EUR 2.30)

  • Maximum payment amount: PLN 100,000 (EUR 23,043)

Express Elixir is Poland’s instant payment system. Launched in 2012 and operated by KIR, Express Elixir is among Europe's first instant payment systems, second only to FPS in the UK.

Payments on Express Elixir are processed in real-time all year long, and funds are credited to the payee’s account seconds after initiation. It allows a maximum amount per payment of PLN 100,000 (EUR 23,043).

Express Elixir relies on ISO 20022 payment messages like many modern payment systems.

Express Elixir also acts as the settlement system for the BlueCash and BLIK payment systems.

Euro Elixir

  • Launch date: 2005

  • Currency: EUR

  • Operated by: KIR

  • Settlement: Business days, 6 sessions per day

  • Fee per payment: PLN 15 to PLN 50 (EUR 3.5 to EUR 11.5)

  • Maximum payment amount: no limit

Euro Elixir is Poland’s retail payment system for euro payments. Launched in 2005 and operated by KIR, It is a systemically important retail payment system as it is the only one in Poland processing payments in foreign currency.

Euro Elixir is connected to the SEPA clearing house STEP2, and settles payments over TARGET2, making it fully part of the SEPA system.


  • Launch date: 2015

  • Currency: PLN

  • Operated by:  Polski Standard Płatności (Polish Payment Standard

  • PPS)

  • Settlement: 24/7/365

  • Fee per payment: Free

  • Maximum payment amount: PLN 10,000 (EUR 2306)

BLIK, launched by Polski Standard Płatności, an alliance of six Polish banks, in 2015, is a mobile payment system mainly used for P2P payments.

Through their participating bank application, users can make account-to-account payments using only the mobile phone of their beneficiary, make online and in-store purchases, and withdraw cash from ATMs.

BLIK generates one-time codes that are valid for two minutes and uniquely identify each transaction. Users can then use the code to pay online, enter it on an ATM screen to withdraw cash, or send it to friends who type it in their mobile app to receive a payment.

Transactions are uniquely identified by a 6-digit one-time code, valid for 2 minutes, which the user generates and authenticates in their mobile banking app. The code can then be typed in online, entered on the ATM screen, or typed by the payment recipient in their mobile app. The resulting payments are nearly instant.

Payments initiated with BLIK are settled through Poland’s instant payment system Express Elixir.


  • Launch date: 2012

  • Currency: PLN

  • Operated by: Blue Media SA

  • Settlement: 24/7/365

  • Fee per payment: Free

  • Maximum payment amount: PLN 20,000 (EUR 4612)

BlueCash is an instant payment system operated by Polish PSP Blue Media in 2012.

BlueCash gathers 113 participating banks, with the possibility of sending and receiving payments from 7 additional banks that aren’t BlueCash participants.

Bank customers can initiate BlueCash payments via web banking, mobile apps, or bank branches. Similarly to BLIK, BlueCash users can send a payment using the beneficiary's phone number only.

Also similar to BLIK, BlueCash relies on Express Elixir to settle payments instantly.

A single API to access Polish payment schemes and more Payment companies looking to successfully address the thriving Polish market must be able to send and receive PLN payments quickly, reliably, and economically. This requires access to local payment systems Elixir and Express Elixir, which remove intermediaries that slow down payments and charge additional fees.

Numeral enables payment companies to integrate with local or pan-European banks that participate in Elixir and Express Elixir via a single, modern API, unlocking fast time-to-market in Poland. For pan-European companies, Numeral also enables access to local and regional payment schemes, including SEPA, Bacs, FPS, and more, by connecting to leading banks across Europe via the same single API.

If you are looking to provide your customers with local Elixir and Express Elixir payments, do not hesitate to contact us.

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