SEPA real-time payments – historic opportunity for Europe's financial institutions

SEPA instant payments still play only a minor role in the European payments market. That will change in the foreseeable future. The main driver for this is the EU Commission's plan to make instant payments in the EU a mandatory offering of financial institutions. The latest whitepaper "Instant payments on the way to the new normal" shows why this is an advantage for the institutions, which business models will become possible and what role additional services play in this.

The key findings of the whitepaper "Instant payments on the way to the new normal"

  • SEPA instant payments will predictively become a mandatory offering of European financial institutions.
  • Real-time payments make economic sense.
  • Financial institutions must ensure the necessary performance, security and scalability of their systems.
  • It is time for a fundamental strategic consideration of the payments sector in the institutions.
  • Outsourcing models such as payments as a service are gaining in importance.

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The brake is released

The technical prerequisites for offering SEPA instant payments in the SEPA area have been in place since 2017. Nevertheless, a good five years later, only 14 % of all credit transfers are executed as such. One third of European financial service providers are still not capable to handle SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) transactions. That is likely to change soon. Because if the EU Commission has its will, they will soon be introduced on a mandatory basis. The fees due for a SEPA real-time payment may be no higher than those for a normal SEPA credit transfer.

Need for action for all
In the foreseeable future all institutions will have to become ready for SEPA instant payments. This places considerable demands on the IT systems: they must be tested for sufficient performance, necessary security and scalability – and improved if necessary. Alternatively, outsourcing is also a possibility.

However, the strategic positioning of the financial institution in the payments area is particularly important: Which offers make sense? What additional services should be offered? What does the future operating model look like? These and other questions are addressed in the whitepaper "Instant payments on the way to the new normal".