Instant payments: Council and Parliament reach provisional agreement

Published On: November 14th, 2023

A groundbreaking political agreement has just been announced between the Council and the European Parliament that’s set to revolutionise payments.

The proposal is live here:

From now on European citizens and businesses will be able to send and receive euros in just 10 seconds, any time, any day – even on public holidays with no extra costs. The co-legislators agreed to provide payment and e-money institutions access to payment systems by amending the Settlement Finality Directive, SFD, an old-fashioned directive dating back to 1998. Equal and fair conditions are on the horizon for providing instant credit transfers, post a transition period. This is not just a technical fix, it’s a game-changer for the future of financial services and our digital economy driving the digital transformation of our society and economy.

The aim of the draft regulation is to increase the uptake of euro instant credit transfers and to facilitate the access to such services for consumers and businesses in the Union. There will be the following requirements regarding euro instant payments:

  • making instant euro payments universally available, with an obligation on EU payment service providers that already offer credit transfers in euro to offer also their instant version
  • making instant euro payments affordable, with an obligation on 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
  • increasing trust in credit transfers, with an obligation on providers to verify the match between the bank account number (IBAN) and the name of the beneficiary provided by the payer in order to alert the payer of a possible mistake or fraud before the payment is made
  • removing 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

We express heartfelt gratitude to the unwavering cooperation of the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of the European Union.Kudos to EDPIA (The European Digital Payments Industry Alliance), European Digital Finance Association, European FinTech Association (EFA), European Payment Institutions Federation (EPIF), Electronic Money Association, ETPPA, Open Finance Association, PayBelgium, and Smart fintech network for standing shoulder-to-shoulder in support.

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