Capital markets union: Council agrees its position on the instant payments proposal | Council Press
The Council agreed its position on the instant payments proposal which aims to improve the availability of instant payment options in euro to everyone who owns a bank account in the EU and in EEA countries.
Instant payments allow people to transfer money within ten seconds, also outside business hours, not only within the same country but also to another EU member state. Under the proposed rules, payment service providers such as banks which provide standard credit transfers in euro will be required to also offer the service of sending and receiving instant payments in euro. The charges they apply (if any) must not be higher than the charges they apply for standard credit transfers.
Today we agreed our position on revised rules which will boost the speed of money transfers in Europe. This will increase the choice of payment options for consumers in Europe.
Elisabeth Svantesson, Minister for Finance of Sweden
In addition, the new rules will improve the strategic autonomy of the European economic and financial sector as they will help to reduce any excessive reliance on third-country financial institutions and infrastructures.
In its position, the Council specifies that the implementation of the new rules will happen faster in member states which are within the euro area. For payment service providers located in member states outside the euro area, there will be a phased implementation time. In the first phase, they will be obliged to carry out instant payments only during business hours. In a second step the same rules as for euro area payment service providers will apply. This is to address concerns that payment service providers outside the euro area could face challenges in access to euro liquidity outside regular business hours. The sending of instant payments in euro from non-euro accounts will be only mandatory during business hours for those payment service providers who also provide standard transfers in euro.
Member states want to keep an eye on the evolution of charges for national and cross-border credit transfers and instant credit transfers in national currencies of member states and in euro. Therefore, the Council includes a review clause with a requirement for the Commission to present a report which shall contain an evaluation of the development of these charges over time.
Now that the Council has set its position on the proposal, it is ready to start negotiations with the European Parliament in order to agree on a final version of the text.
This initiative comes in the context of the completion of the Capital Markets Union. In March 2021 and April 2022 the Council adopted conclusions in which it highlighted the widespread use of instant payments and recalled the objective of developing competitive EU-wide market-based payment solutions.
On 26 October 2022 the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on instant credit transfers in euro. It amends and modernises the single euro payments area (SEPA) regulation of 2012 on standard credit transfers in euro by adding to it specific provisions for instant credit transfers in euro.
The aim of the draft regulation is to increase the uptake of euro instant credit transfers and to facilitate the access to such services for consumers and businesses in the Union. There will be the following requirements regarding euro instant payments:
- making instant euro payments universally available, with an obligation on EU payment service providers that already offer credit transfers in euro to offer also their instant version
- making instant euro payments affordable, with an obligation on payment service providers to ensure that the price charged for instant payments in euro does not exceed the price charged for traditional, non-instant credit transfers in euro
- increasing trust in instant payments, with an obligation on providers to verify the match between the bank account number (IBAN) and the name of the beneficiary provided by the payer in order to alert the payer of a possible mistake or fraud before the payment is made
- removing friction in the processing of instant euro payments while preserving the effectiveness of screening of persons that are subject to EU sanctions, through a procedure whereby payment service providers will verify at least daily their clients against EU sanctions lists, instead of screening all transactions one by one