The Botswana Interbank Settlement System (BISS) is an electronic interbank payment system that allows funds to be transferred between participating institutions on an irrevocable and real time basis. It is also commonly known as the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.  Settlement occurs in a continuous fashion on a transaction by transaction (gross) basis, provided there is sufficient cover in the sending bank’s account. There is no netting of debits against credits. Payments are routed through participants’ settlement accounts held at the Bank of Botswana.

BISS is managed and operated by the Bank of Botswana in its capacity as settlement provider mandated by the NCSS Act, 2003. Membership of BISS is open to all clearing banks operating in Botswana as well as the Bank of Botswana.

Primary objectives

The primary objective of BISS is to facilitate safe and secure payment; reduce payment system risks (including liquidity, credit and systemic risks) that enable Botswana to meet international payments and settlement standards as recommended by the Committee for Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).


The system brings benefits to the national economy, local banks and individual customers, as follows:

To the national economy:

  • Mitigates the national payment systems risks, especially risks which, should they occur, would result in significant disruption to the whole payments and settlement system, leading to disturbances occurring in economic activity;
  • Provides faster access to high-value and time-critical payments (i.e., payments that have to be effected same day) by financial institutions, either on their own behalf or for their customers;
  • Lowers the risks associated with the accumulation of uncleared payments at the end of each day;
  • Facilitates the settlement of Government securities in central bank money; and
  • Enables Botswana to adhere to best international practice which, in turn, serves to enhance the country’s position through operating a modern financial infrastructure commensurate with international norms.

To local banks:

  • Provides real time gross settlement and, therefore, mitigates interbank risks, i.e., credit risks due to settlement lags are eliminated;
  • Enables monitoring of liquidity flows and to respond accordingly;
  • Enables continuous on-line monitoring of banks’ settlement accounts with the Bank of Botswana, on a real time basis;
  • Enables banks to avail all payments related to interbank exposure to the Bank of Botswana as an overseer of the BISS; and
  • Provides world class technology and a future platform for Botswana to effect cross-border payments and settlements, in accordance with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) vision for modern payments infrastructure in the region.

To individual customers:

  • Provides immediate settlement and timely payment of high value and time critical payments;
  • Operates on the basis where a person initiating the payment must have funds in his/her account prior to issuing a payment instruction. Subject to availability of funds in the sending bank’s account, and on instruction to pay, payment is immediate, final and irrevocable;
  • Curbs the need for people to write high value cheques or carry large amounts of cash to effect high value payments; and
  • Processing or sending instructions is cost effective. 

Operating schedule

The Bank of Botswana operates the BISS at specified times during a working day for purposes of undertaking payments and settlement. This is according to the BISS operating schedule as outlined in the table below:


BISS System Start 0745-0800 BoB beginning of day processes.
Settlement Start 0800-1530 Interbank and third party payments are allowed during this settlement window.
Final cut-off 1530-1700 System closed for third party payments. Only interbank payments are permitted.
BISS End of Day 1700-1730 BoB end of day processes.

Interface with the Botswana Automated Clearing House (BACH)

The BISS is interfaced with the BACH for settlement of Net Settlement Instructions emanating from clearing sessions. Clearing at BACH takes place three times a day (9am, 11am and 3pm). The settlement of BACH obligations is on a prefunded basis availed from the Credit Facility.