Committee MEPs backed more accessible instant payments in euros 

Press Releases 
  • Focus on speed and consumer safety 
  • Instant transfers that are affordable and available across the EU 
  • Further integration of the Union payments market 

On Wednesday, Economic and Monetary Affairs committee voted on new rules to secure immediate arrival of transferred funds to bank accounts of retail customers and businesses in the EU.

To make sure that SMEs and retail clients will not have to wait for their money as well as to provide safe transfers, MEPs voted to update the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) legislation. Payment service providers (PSPs) such as banks, providing transfer services in euro, would also be required to offer service of instant credit transfers. Member states whose currency is not the euro should be able to apply the rules to domestic instant transfers in their currency.

Instant credit transfer

An instant credit transfer is supposed to be executed regardless of the day or hour and immediately processed, so that the payee’s payment account is credited with the amount transferred within 10 seconds after the time of receipt of the payment order.

Where a payment order for an instant credit transfer in euro is submitted from a payment account that is not denominated in euro, a PSP should convert the amount of transaction from the currency in which the payment account is denominated into euro, immediately upon receiving that payment order.

Customer safety, penalties and sanctions

MEPs stressed that PSPs should have in place robust and up-to-date fraud detection and prevention measures, flexible enough to deal with new challenges.

To this end, PSPs operating in the EU should immediately and without any additional charges or fees, provide a service to verify whether there is any discrepancy between the payment account identifier of the payee and the name of the payee provided by the payer.

Where a discrepancy is detected, a client should be notified, and where such information is not provided, a client should be compensated by a PSP for any financial damage. As an additional safeguard against fraud, PSPs should allow its clients to set a maximum amount for instant credit transfers in euro, which could be easily modified prior to the next transfer.

Moreover, PSPs offering instant credit transfers should verify whether any of their clients are subject to sanctions or other restrictive measures related to the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Charges stay the same

Charges applied by a PSP on payers and payees in respect of instant credit transfer transactions in euro cannot be higher than the charges applied to credit transfer transactions in euro. MEPs clarified that PSPs are not allowed to raise, directly or indirectly, the charges for regular transactions in order to circumvent this rule


Michiel Hoogeveen (ECR, NL) the lead MEP said: "Instant payments are a much-needed innovation. Why does my order from Amazon reach me faster than a payment from a friend in another Eurozone country reaches my bank account? The Instant Payments Regulation will provide consumers and businesses with the necessary guarantee for payments. The cross-border element will reduce fragmentation of the single market. As Parliament, we are reopening the Settlement Finality Directive to allow non-bank payment service providers and e-money institutions direct access to the SEPA settlement system. This extends the scope of the regulation on immediate payments and adapts it to the digital age. I am excited about the implications, as it levels the playing field for European businesses and fosters innovation. I am proud to be the rapporteur of this forward-looking and innovative proposal."

Next steps

The text was adopted with 49 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions. The ECON Committee negotiators are now ready to start talks with the Council, which has already adopted its position.