The EPC published the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme rulebook at the end of November 2016, after a public consultation organised earlier this year. This article discusses what’s next now that the rulebook has been published.
It seems inevitable that payments will become faster. So, if Payment Service Providers (PSPs) want to remain at the forefront of the industry, they should rapidly board the instant payments train, and get ready to process the first SCT Inst transactions in November 2017 or as soon as possible writes Anthony Richter, Chair of the EPC Ad Hoc Task Force on Instant Payments, and Jean-Yves Jacquelin, Chair of the EPC SCT Instant Scheme Rulebook Development Task Force – in this article which first appeared in the EPC Newsletter.
The SCT Inst scheme: a world-premiere in a region as large as SEPA
Around the world, ‘instant’, ‘real-time’, and ‘faster’ payments are among the hottest payment topics. Many countries, including some in Europe, have already successfully launched instant payment solutions.
However, currently these do not operate across national borders. The EPC’s SCT Inst scheme, created in close collaboration with stakeholders from across the payment chain, will enable interoperable euro credit transfers in SEPA. In a maximum of 10 seconds, for transactions of up to 15,000 euro initially.
In addition, PSPs can mutually agree to increase the transfer limit and speed. Users will be able to make these transactions anytime, including during weekends and holidays, all year round. The convenience of instant credit transfers, the immediate certainty that the money has left one account and is available for the beneficiary of the payment, will further increase the use of electronic payment methods over cash and cheques.
From January 2017, PSPs will have the opportunity to adhere to the scheme and get ready for November 2017
The SCT Inst scheme will enter into effect in November 2017. PSPs that plan to offer SCT Inst transaction services to their customers as soon as November next year or shortly thereafter, will be able to adhere to the scheme as of January 2017.
The publication of the SCT Inst rulebook does not mark the end of the EPC’s work on instant payments. Quite the contrary, throughout 2017, we will monitor adherence to the new scheme, and track any implementation issues, which we will immediately address.
Flexibility is at the core of the scheme’s future evolution
To ensure that the scheme continues to meet future market needs, a change management cycle will be organised every two years as of 2018. And as the maximum amount of an SCT Inst transaction is a key parameter, from 2018, this will be reviewed annually in addition to the change management cycle. These measures will allow the scheme to remain flexible and to change according to the feedback provided by its participants.
PSPs: get prepared and adhere to the SCT Inst scheme!
The drive towards the digitalisation of our society and economy leaves no room for hesitation. In order to meet customer expectations, payments will continue to become faster, easier, and more accessible through mobile and digital devices.
The SCT Inst scheme is an excellent opportunity for PSPs to prove that payments can be ingenious and that they are firmly aboard the innovation train. The higher the number of PSPs adhering to the scheme in 2017 (at least as beneficiary PSPs), the greater and more rapid its success will be.
Even if your organisation is not ready to offer customers the possibility to make SCT Inst transactions in November 2017, you should endeavour to be able to receive instant credit transfers as this will also benefit your customers. We therefore invite all PSPs to adhere to the scheme as soon as possible, and to create all together a new payment mode to satisfy your customers’ needs!
This article was written by Anthony Richter, Chair of the EPC Ad Hoc Task Force on Instant Payments, and Jean-Yves Jacquelin, Chair of the EPC SCT Instant Scheme Rulebook Development Task Force, and published in the EPC Newsletter – December 2016.