Key takeaways 

  • SEPA Instant Payments make money/funds transfer faster, safer, and more efficient.  
  • The streamlined process of SEPA Instant makes instant cross-border transactions possible, which was out of grasp for so long.  
  • SEPA Instant Payments are available 24/7/365.  
  • Using SEPA instant payment you can send a one-time transaction up to 100,000 euros. 

Instant money transfer is not a new phenomenon; however, this feature historically was confined within each country. This is about changes with SEPA Instant. Up until now, the cross-border instant payment system was not practical because of how hard and expensive it used to be for regulation. With SEPA Instant Payment, individuals and businesses can make cross-border payments. Continue reading to know the benefits that entail this golden opportunity i.e. SEPA instant transfer.  

Benefits of using SEPA Instant Payments  

Faster Payments:  

SEPA Instant payments are faster than the regular SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT).  In fact, every SEPA Instant payment gets credited into the payee’s bank account in less than 10 seconds. This means the customers need not wait for days or hours as in other traditional bank transfers. This makes them useful in a wide range of use cases as opposed to other payments including other SEPA payments.  

Following are some of the use cases where SEPA instant transfer can be a game changer:  

  • Last-minute bill payment  
  • Emergency payment  
  • E-commerce Transactions  
  • Emergency Purchases  
  • Subscription-Based Services  
  • Inventory Management  
  • Cash-on-Delivery (COD) Replacements  

Your Instant Transaction is as Safe as Regular Transaction:  

Being a faster transaction system than any previous or prevailing payment system in Europe, SEPA instant payments can raise multiple eyebrows concerning the safety and security of your payments. However, that is something you should worry about. The SEPA instant payments are as safe and secure as any other regular transaction system (if not more secure). The following are some of the factors that assure the safety and security of the SEPA instant payment system:  

  • As the payments are instant and settled in real-time, payments can be tracked easily as the messages have standardized payment information.   
  • Verification of Payee (VOP) Banks and payment service providers must confirm whether the IBAN matches the name of the beneficiary and notify the payer of a possible mistake or fraud before the payment is sent.  
  • Upfront verification of beneficiaries helps expedite the payment process and ensures payment safety by reducing the chance of fraudulent transactions. It will be more beneficial for payments for Gig services or for any emergency payments whereas the payee will be confirmed upfront.  

Make Payments 24/7/365:   

SEPA instant payments offer payment services all around the calendar, day and night. In other words, it is 24/7/365. You or your business can make or receive payment in an instant at any time you want. This is more beneficial for customers and businesses who are in different countries with different time zones, as there are no time constraints for fund transfers, and you are not affected by the cut-off time of banking schedules.   

Simpler International Transactions:  

Businesses or payers are not required to open multiple separate bank accounts to facilitate international transactions. Thanks to SEPA Instant Transfer, making payments across borders is easier than ever. Up till now, if a business in the UK wanted to accommodate business transactions between them and their clientele in various other countries in Europe, it had to have multiple individual bank accounts for the following reasons:  

  • To avoid currency conversion fees.  
  • To comply with local regulations.  
  • To mitigate currency exchange risks.  
  • To simplify accounting and reporting processes which were made strenuous with the involvement of foreign currency.  
  • To deal with a separate merchant account or payment gateway requirements.  

This hassle is eliminated with SEPA instant transfer, through which you can make cross-border transactions possible within seconds. Also, for added transparency, businesses can get their foreign currency payments in real-time conversion rates.  

Support Digital Economy:  

SCT Instant payments streamline financial transactions, making them flexible for various digital economic needs like online payments and transfers, integrated accounting, and much more. SEPA instant payment system also seamlessly integrates with other payment solutions like QR codes and SEPA Request-to-Pay, providing users with a broader spectrum of payment choices.  

Foster Economic Growth:   

Real-time settlement of instant payments supports cash flow management for businesses. Smooth and uninterrupted movement of funds ensures liquidity in business enabling better financial planning for business expansion and potentially reducing dependence on expensive short-term financing solutions. The SEPA instant gives a greater guarantee on payments, as the payments are irrevocable once made. This reinforces cogent business relations. Some of the use cases of SEPA instant payments benefitting businesses by fostering economic growth are:  

  • In Subscription-Based Services: Businesses offering software as a service or (SaaS) can automate your recurring payments using the instant payment feature. This ensures timely revenue streams and minimizes churns.  
  • In Inventory management: Business relies on continuous work without any unforeseen roadblocks. So, it is imperative to replenish stocks or raw materials as fast as the inventory level comes to a predetermined threshold. Therefore, by having an SCT instant payment system you ensure the continuity of operation without worrying about the payment and its processes.  

The aim of SEPA Instant Mandate:  

The SEPA payment model was first introduced in 2008. However, until 2014 SEPA was not fully implemented in European countries, and 2016 was marked as the year the implementation spread to the non-European countries. SEPA for cards and SEPA instant credit transfers were later additions followed by the SEPA card payment feature initiation back in 2017. The latest addition to the SEPA is the mandate proposed in mid-2023 to sanction the use of SEPA instant transfer between members in and out of the Eurozone.  

Following are some of the aims of the SEPA instant mandate or SEPA in general:  

  1. Single, integrated, and harmonised payment system for the Euro-dominated market.  
  2. Cross-border or non-European payments are as easy and effortless as domestic payments  
  3. One payment account/ one card for all credit transactions  
  4. Faster, safer, and more efficient mode of payment for both individuals and businesses.  

SEPA Instant Features  

SEPA Instant or SCT Instant is a significant milestone in Eurozone trade and financial development. Individuals can send and receive instant payments among other individuals all over Europe and outside Europe using SCT Instant. And in the case of businesses, you can take one-off and recurring payments using SCT instant. Below are a few other features of SCT instant that make it a game changer.  

  • SEPA Instant payment services are available 24 hours a day and on all Calendar Days of the year;  
  • SEPA Instant payment messages are XML-based ISO 20022-compliant messages.  
  • Payments are made for the full original amount without any alteration.  
  • The originator and beneficiary are responsible for their own charges  
  • The maximum execution time for SEPA Instant payments is 10 seconds and the funds are instantly credited to the beneficiary’s account.  
  • The maximum amount of SPA Instant is 100,000 euros.  
  • Payment initiation and reconciliation occurs on an STP (Straight-through processing) basis;  
  • Rejects are handled Immediately in an automated way;   
  • The remittance Information of 140 characters and End-to-End ID of 35 characters supplied by the payer are forwarded in full and without alteration to the beneficiary  

Need Help with SEPA Instant Implementation? 

Moving forward SEPA instant payments will be how European business take transaction from their customers across the borders and locally. So, it is essential to comply to SEPA instant mandate, as soon as you can. Reach out to us for your business to have smooth SEPA instant Implementation. 


Which are the countries in the SEPA?  

Here is the SEPA country list as of January 2024:  

Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and the 3 EEA countries of Norway.  

How fast is instant SEPA?  

SEPA Instant can send and receive money within 10 seconds. This makes it the fastest credit cross-border transfer in and around the Eurozone.  

Which banks use SEPA?  

SEPA instant/ SCT instant payments can be made between European Union banks that have joined the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer system. These banks also should be a part of the EBA Clearing system. Nearly all prominent banks in and around the Eurozone fall under this category. 

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