Making instant and inclusive payments a reality in the EU

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On 19 March 2024, the Regulation on Instant Payments was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The generalisation of instant euro payments in the EU will lead to very relevant benefits in terms of liquidity management, market competition and convenience for users. Furthermore, it could possibly lead to an increase in public revenues, more innovation, progress in completing the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) and financial inclusion. 

This explainer delves into the benefits, as well as into the specifics of the Instant Payments Regulation, explaining how it is expected to succeed at dealing with obstacles in supply and demand and outlining implementation timelines. Though instant and inclusive payments will soon be a reality in the EU, pan-European payment solutions are not here yet. This is precisely why interoperability should be fostered to promote the scaling up of current cross-border payment solutions which will give place to a competitive pan-European payments ecosystem. 

Judith Arnal is Senior Research Fellow at ECRI and CEPS. Fredrik Andersson is Researcher at ECRI and CEPS.