“As of today, nearly 600 payment service providers (PSPs) from eight European countries are offering instant payment solutions based on SCT Inst.” EPC announcement, Nov 21st
What is SCT Inst? As of 21st November, the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer Scheme has become operational. The scheme “allows the electronic transfer of up to €15,000 Euros to be transferred across Europe in less than ten seconds, at any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.”
Eight European countries are signed up to the scheme: Austria, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Spain. The European Payments Council says that “this is only the beginning of the European journey towards instant payments”, and that “the geographical scope of SCT Inst will progressively span over 34 European countries as more, including Belgium, Finland and Portugal, expect to join the scheme in 2018 or 2019.
The maximum amount available to transfer (currently €15,000) will be periodically reviewed in an effort to help the scheme “evolve to better reflect market needs.”
The EPC has provided 2 infographics to illustrate all the different uses of SCT Inst. The first lists it’s top 10 benefits; the speed and efficiency of the scheme are emphasised with the likely beneficiaries being consumers sending money either domestically or internationally, and small businesses making payments, either for supplies, logistics, or to pay workers.
Normally, international money transfers of this size take at least one day to complete; a new time of just ten minutes could be a game changer in a number of different business and personal scenarios.
The second infographic provides 20 use-cases for the new service, from person-to-person payments, to person-to-business payments, business to person and business to business; and there is a video, too:
The EPC are trying to encourage as many payment service providers as possible to join the scheme and to register as both senders and receivers; the list of existing providers can be found here. They will also hold a public consultation in 2018 to gauge the reaction of the market to the scheme, and to consider the possibility of introducing a mobile payments platform.
It has taken just one year for the EPC to develop SCT Inst having been invited to do so by the high-level Euro Retail Payments Board at the end of 2015. It is the fourth payments scheme the EPC has produced, after SEPA Credit Transfer, Direct Debit Core, and Direct Debit Business to Business.