Financial servicesCommission seeks to accelerate EU-wide implementation of instant payments

Today, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to make instant payments in Euro available to all consumers holding a bank account in the EU and in EEA countries. This proposal is to amend and modernize the 2012 Regulation on the Single Euro Payments Regulation (SEPA) ensuring that instant payments – the transfer of money at any time of any day within ten seconds – are affordable, secure, and processed without hindrance across the EU.

The following four requirements for euro instant payments are included in the proposal:

  • To make instant euro payments universally available by obliging EU payment service providers that already offer credit transfers in Euro to offer also their instant version within a defined period.
  • To make instant euro payments affordable by requiring payment service providers to ensure that the price charged for instant payments in euro does not exceed the price charged for traditional, non-instant credit transfers in euro.
  • To increase trust in instant payments by requiring payment service providers to verify that the bank account number (IBAN) and the name of the beneficiary match so that, if necessary, the payer can be alerted to an error or attempted fraud before the payment is made.
  • To remove friction in the processing of instant euro payments while preserving the effectiveness of screening of persons that are subject to EU sanctions, through a procedure whereby payment service providers will verify at least daily their clients against EU sanctions lists, instead of screening all transactions one by one.

Monique Goyens, BEUC Director General, commented: "Instant Payments offer enormous potential for consumers, to pay instantaneously among peers or in shops. But they are currently not widely offered or simply too expensive, with providers charging significant fees for consumers to transfer their money instantly. Fraud has been another big brake on their adoption, so consumers will welcome the added protections offered by IBAN checks on payments. Instant Payments should not be a premium service – it’s time to make them the new normal."

Source: EC & BEUC

More information and BEUC press release