On 26 October 2022, the European Commission has published its legislative proposal on instant payments as amendments of the SEPA regulation and Cross-border payments codification regulation.


Currently, the availability of instant payments (IPs) and possible related fees vary across EU Member States. The objective of the Regulation is to significantly increase the uptake of IPs, so that most euro credit transfers will be instant.


The initiative is expected to improve the efficiency of the retail payments market and unlock the benefits of instant payments for EU citizens and businesses, especially SMEs. It should also facilitate cross-border trade within the EU and enhance the integration of the Single Market, supporting the European economy.


The text is built around four pillars:

  1. Availability: obligation for payment service providers (PSPs) that already offer credit transfers in euro to offer their instant version.
  2. Pricing: obligation for PSPs 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.
  3. Confirmation of Payee: obligation for PSPs to verify the match between the 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.
  4. Sanctions screening: removing friction in the processing of instant euro payments through a procedure where PSPs will verify at least daily their clients database against EU sanctions lists, instead of screening all transactions one by one. 


As for the next steps, the EU Council and the Parliament will now begin their work on adopting respective positions before entering negotiating phase to establish the final text.


Once the final regulation is published in the Official EU Journal, the entry into force is expected to be 6 months after that day for receiving of IPs in euro, and 12 months for sending of IPs in euro for PSPs in the euro area.


The proposed delays for implementation by PSPs outside the euro area are 30 and 36 months respectively.


The ABBL will support its members to establish a market position on the EC proposal, as well as focus on key priorities for its future implementation.