The European Payments Council published the SEPA instant credit transfer (SCT Inst) scheme rulebook at the end of November 2016, after a public consultation organised earlier in the year.

It seems inevitable that payments will become faster. So, if payment service providers want to remain at the forefront of the industry, they should rapidly board the instant payments train, says Anthony Richter, chair of the EPC  task force on instant payments, and Jean-Yves Jacquelin, chair of the EPC SCT Inst scheme rulebook development task force.

Around the world, instant, real-time, and faster payments are among the hottest topics in payments. 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 for transactions of up to €15,000 initially to be available on the payee’s account within ten seconds.

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. The convenience of instant credit transfers, the immediate certainty that the money has left one account and is available for the beneficiary, will further increase the use of electronic payment methods over cash and cheques.

The SCT Inst scheme will come into effect in November 2017. PSPs that plan to offer SCT Inst transaction services to their customers from that date 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. Throughout 2017, the task force will monitor adherence to the new scheme and track implementation issues to address.

To ensure that the scheme continues to meet future market needs, a change management cycle will be organised every two years as of 2018.

As the maximum amount of a SCT Inst transaction is a key parameter, this will be reviewed annually in addition to the change management cycle from 2018.

The EPC feels that these measures will allow the scheme to remain flexible and to change according to feedback from participants.

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