Instant payments will take time in Europe
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Instant payments will take time in Europe

The EU’s Instant Payments Regulation may have fired the starting gun on real-time payments in Europe, but many banks remain stuck in the blocks.

Green computer key sepa
Photo: iStock

Europe’s journey towards real-time payments has some way to go. The Council of the EU adopted its Instant Payments Regulation in February, but a new survey by payments modernization provider RedCompass Labs suggests that the EU Sepa instant deadline of January 9, 2025, is unrealistic.

The firm surveyed 200 senior payment professionals at European banks and found that 58% of those without an instant-payment offering believed the deadline was unrealistic, with one third unsure they would be able to receive instant payments by that date.

The regulation incorporates a period of nine months for banks to implement a solution that can process incoming Sepa Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) transactions (and associated unsuccessful transactions) and 18 months to offer SCT Inst payment services.

This is possibly not realistic given that most banks have been waiting on confirmation of the dates with many other changes on their plate already, such as migration from MT to MX message formats for cross-border payments.

Bo Liljefors, chief product officer at Brite Payments, refers to progress towards instant payments as a mixed bag and says many banks have been slow to adopt important features such as confirmation of payee.

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