International real-time payments still in early stages
Domestic real-time payments are spreading as more countries adopt the technology, but the move to international, cross-currency payments is still some time off.
The Single Euro Payments Area's (Sepa) instant credit transfer scheme (SCT Inst) went live on Tuesday, enabling payments to be made between European countries.
The first payment carried out was by UniCredit between Germany and Italy, taking just 2.5 seconds.
Although marking a milestone in the movement of instant payments, and the first time that an instant payment has been made in Germany, the transactions takes place between countries with the same payments framework and the same currency. This removes many of the most complex aspects of sending transactions between countries.
Even in this environment, there are measures in place to provide protections and impose limits, with the European Payments Council setting a cap of €15,000 per payment. There is a still a long way to go before payments are moving freely at high speed across borders and between currencies.
Hank Uberoi, CEO of international payments provider Earthport, says that while real-time developments are positive, there are still important risk factors to consider.