The European Payments Council has confirmed a November 2017 launch date for a pan-European instant credit transfer scheme that will bring real-time money transfers across the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa).
The launch of the voluntary programme has been confirmed following a public consultation on the rules and technical standards that will apply to payment service providers joining the Sepa Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme.
The decision to create an instant payments scheme comes in response to concerns that the emergence of new domestic platforms, such as the UK's Faster Payments, might end up creating a fragmented market in Europe, similar to what existed in regular payments in the past.
Under the SCT Inst blueprint, people will be able to transfer up to EUR15,000 within 10 seconds, 24/7/365, across borders between accounts in any of 34 Sepa countries. PSPs willing to increase the amount limit and transaction speed can bilaterally or multilaterally agree to do so.
As an optional programme, its success will depend on the number of PSPs which will agree to the scheme rulebook. The EPC is urging all PSPs to sign up to the platform from January 2017, even if they only intend to act as receivers.
Javier Santamaría, chair of the EPC, says: "The SCT Inst scheme will pave the way for emerging methods of payment, such as Person-to-Person mobile payments. Today’s publication of the scheme is only the beginning of this journey towards faster pan-European payments: now is the time for all stakeholders to get ready to process the first SCT Inst transactions in November 2017. Together, we will make this scheme a success.”
The news was welcomed by the European Central Bank and the Euro retail Payments Board (ERPB). “Today’s decision brings us one step closer to faster and easier to use, yet safe payment solutions. The Sepa Instant Credit Transfer scheme ensures that innovations benefit end users across Europe,” says ECB Executive Board member Yves Mersch, who also chairs the ERPB. “The scheme will also help accelerate further developments in the area of mobile payment solutions.”