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Money soon transferred in seconds

​The European instant payments scheme was launched in November 2017 and will be adopted by Finnish banks in stages in 2018. In the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), the newly introduced SEPA instant credit transfer scheme (SCT Inst) makes funds available on the beneficiary’s account within ten seconds of the transaction – 24/7/365, even across borders.

Inkeri Tolvanen, head of payment systems at Finance Finland, says that Finnish banks have actively participated in developing the SEPA instant payments service and the interbank payment system. “Each bank can decide when it joins the service. The first Finnish banks will probably adopt SCT Inst in spring 2018.” 

“SEPA credit transfers serve both consumers and businesses,” continues Tolvanen. As the service gains popularity, people will be able to access online retail services instantly, and buy local items while travelling with a few clicks on their smartphone. The scheme’s initial maximum payment is 15,000 euros, but Finnish banks plan to lift this restriction in domestic payments. 

According to Tolvanen, there are various ways to make an instant payment: on your smartphone, in your e-bank, or for corporate customers, as data transfer. The available payment methods depend on your bank's services.

The instant payments scheme will not replace the regular credit transfer; rather, it will work in addition to it. The new payment method is a much-needed addition to bank services, because the transaction times of regular credit transfers are not always fast enough. 

In Europe, the first adopters of the SEPA instant credit transfer scheme include Austria, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The SCT Inst will expand to cover 34 European countries during 2018 and 2019, creating a pan-European instant payment system.

Additional information:
European Central Bank's article
European Payment Council's rulebook