Countdown to 2017 launch for real-time credit transfers across SEPA

The European Payments Council (EPC) has outlined plans for a new pan-European instant credit transfer scheme, which aims to bring real-time money transfers across the single euro payment area (SEPA) region.

The plan for the instant credit transfer scheme, named SCT Inst, has been submitted by the EPC to and approved by the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), a body chaired by the European Central Bank (ECB). It is expected to be adopted in November 2017.

The EPC says that instant payments will be beneficial for suppliers as they will be able to receive funds as soon as they sell their goods and services. Having this 24/7 capability for all 365 days of the year will fill a current gap in this area as there is currently no pan-European scheme that allows credit transfers to be processed instantly across the SEPA region.

The SCT Inst scheme should allow avoid fragmentation of solutions and will operate in line with the European institutions’ wish to further harmonise payment methods and remove any national barriers, at the ERPB’s request.

In order to maintain cost-effectiveness, the new form of transfer will have the same basis as the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) scheme and the specific payment instrument that is used for transactions in euro in the 34 SEPA countries.

The EPC is now looking to resolve other issues with the payment stakeholders, such as the maximum number of seconds that are needed to process an SCT Inst transaction. Alongside this, a SCT Inst rulebook and implementation guidelines will be detailed.

Chair of the EPC, Javier Santamaría, looks forward to the support of all payment service providers (PSPs) to put in place a project that will be the first of its kind in the region. “The approval by the ERPB of the EPC proposal for the design of an SCT Inst scheme is a turning point in making pan-European instant credit transfers in euro a reality,” he said.

Publication of the SCT Inst scheme documents is targeted for November 2016 after a three month public consultation, ahead of the planned launch in November 2017.



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