The European Commission is set to introduce legislation covering a digital euro and full EU-wide coverage of instant payments through Sepa Instant early next year.
The bill will serve as the legal foundation for the European Central Bank’s ongoing technical work on the creation of a central bank digital currency. On instant payments, the proposed legislative changes are intended to address the fragmented market for cross-border real-time payments and provide a spur to Open Banking initiatives across the Union.
While details are scarce, EU commisioner for financial services Mairead McGuinness told a conference that the new rules are required to accelerate the roll-out of instant payments in the EU.
Joe Morley, GM for Europe at TrueLayer, welcomed the news: "This can't happen soon enough with so much efficiency currently being lost due to the lack of a coherent implementation of Sepa Instant Payments in the EU. It needs to be ubiquitous and become the default option. There is no compelling reason why this cannot be the case when the solution exists - to date it's been an adoption problem. European business deserves better and this is an easy win-win for cross border competitiveness within the EU - both for merchants and consumers."