11 Things You Need To Know About SEPA Instant Payments 6

Everyone wants everything instantly! Consumers are increasingly accustomed to instant payments through various mobile offerings, and there is a similar ‘instant’ expectation for non-mobile payments. In Europe that means SEPA Payments, hence the emergence of SEPA Inst Payments, or more officially the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer Scheme. Instant payments are clearly the flavour of the day. In this post i thought i would give you the lowdown of the top 11 things you need to know about the SEPA instant payments scheme based on information from the European Payments Council.

1. When was the idea of a SEPA Instant Payments Scheme, SEPA Inst Payments, first floated?

The European Payments Council (EPC) proposed the idea of a SEPA instant payments scheme to the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) in November 2015

The proposal was largely instigated by shifts in consumer, corporate and retail expectations around payments processing, and payments innovation which have brought about various digital solutions and real time processing platforms.

2. What are SEPA Instant Payments?

The Euro Retail Payments Board defined SEPA Inst Payments as:

“electronic retail payment solutions available 24/7/365 and resulting in the immediate or close-to-immediate interbank clearing of the transaction and crediting of the payee’s account with confirmation to the payer (within seconds of payment initiation). This is irrespective of the underlying payment instrument used (credit transfer, direct debit or payment card) and of the underlying arrangements for clearing (whether bilateral interbank clearing or clearing via infrastructures) and settlement (e.g. with guarantees or in real time) that make this possible”

My interpretation is a lot simpler – The ability to make SEPA payments anytime, any day and within a few seconds.

3. We have already have instant payments in the UK, why do we need SEPA instant payments?

Yeah, instant payments are available in the UK, Poland, Sweden and Denmark – but this is the first time we will have instant payments across an entire region! Cross border baby – that’s a pretty big deal!

4. What is the difference between a regular SEPA Credit Transfer and a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer

SCT SEPA Credit Transfer:

  • SEPA credit transfers are processed in batch. That means you send your SEPA payment to your bank at various times during the day. These transactions are typically put into a “big batch” and submitted to the clearing and settlement at the end of the business day

SCT Inst:

  • The processing of SEPA instant payments will be at a transaction level. As soon as a Payment Service Provider recognises (parameters to be confirmed) that the SEPA transaction is a instant payment they will process and clear the payment (and potentially settle) in real time

5. Will SEPA Instant Credit Transfers (SCT Inst) be Mandatory?

SCT Inst will build upon the existing SEPA Credit Transfer Payment scheme. While the scheme is available to all Payment Service Providers, SEPA Credit Transfer Instant Payments (SCT Inst) is an optional scheme

6. Which countries will participate in the SCT Inst Scheme?

The SCT Inst scheme will be available across the 34 SEPA Countries

1. Austria, 2. Belgium, 3. Bulgaria, 4. Croatia, 5. Cyprus, 6. Czech Republic, 7. Denmark, 8. Estonia, 9. Finland, 101. France, 11. Germany, 12. Greece, 13. Hungary, 14. Iceland, 15. Ireland, 16. Italy, 17. Latvia, 18. Liechtenstein, 19. Lithuania, 20. Luxembourg, 21. Malta, 22. Monaco, 23. Netherlands, 24. Norway, 25. Poland,  26. Portugal, 27. Romania, 28. San Marino, 29. Slovakia, 30. Slovenia, 31. Spain, 32. Sweden, 33, Switzerland, 34. United Kingdom

7. Is there a maximum transaction value for SEPA Instant Credit Transfers?

The initial maximum SCT Inst value will be €15,000 (euro)

8. What does Instant mean?

  • The SEPA payment will be in your account within 10 seconds
  • All participants will be able to process SCT Inst payments  24-7-365
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9. What is the current status of SEPA Instant Payments – SCT Inst?

From 12-April through to 10th July, 2016 there is a 3 month consultation where the SCT Inst scheme rulebook is open to public consultation – so you can provide your input around how you think SEPA instant payments in Europe should work

10. What is the overall plan for SCT Inst?

  • The public consultation is happening right now (started 12th April. 2016) and that will end on 10th July
  • Based on the comments and feedback, the European Payments Council will publish the framework and legal / technical specifications for the SEPA instant payments scheme in November 2016
  • This will give participants exactly one year to get ready for the go live

11. When can I make a Instant Euro Payment?

The SEPA Instant Credit Transfers scheme will go live in November 2017



  • ECB – Instant Payments
  • EPC – EPC Work on Instant Payments
  • EPC – Q&A SEPA Instant Credit Transfer Scheme
  • EPC – What are Instant Payments?


6 thoughts on “11 Things You Need To Know About SEPA Instant Payments

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  3. Reply Konto May 9,2017 2:08 pm

    Well, the thing is:
    If its not mandatory, the question arises is if it will become really a “standard”;
    EU has forced so much regulation on banks – and then they leave this last, very small, piece out of scope?
    SEPA Instant will be a huge benefit for customers, regardless if retail or corporate users – so it would be somewhat adequate to have this implemented as an “EU-directive”.

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  6. Reply Charles Jul 16,2018 7:59 am

    There is another TIPS(Target Instant Payment) initiative, I was wondering what is the key difference between SEPA Instant Payment and TIPS?

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