Joint letter on instant payments
Public Letters - Digital, Technology & Payments
European Commission - Commissioner Mairead McGuinnessEuropean Parliament - MEP Irene Tinagli
Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union - Minister Elisabeth Svantesson
Brussels, 15 February 2023
Subject: Unlocking the opportunities of instant payments for European businesses and consumers
Dear Commissioner McGuinness, Ms Tinagli and Ms Svantesson
The undersigned associations welcome and strongly support the European Commission’s recent legislative proposal on instant payments. Consumers and businesses across the EU stand to benefit from low-cost and universally available instant payments. We therefore strongly encourage the co-legislators to maintain the ambitious approach set out by the European Commission during the negotiations of this proposal.Instant payments offer a wide range of benefits to consumers and merchants across Europe and globally. These include allowing them to manage money more effectively by giving them instant and secure access to their funds, making it easier for merchants to deliver their products and services to consumers faster, and supporting the development of innovative new payment services for consumers. They can serve a wide range of use cases, such as Instant Payouts, top-ups and Open Banking-enabled payments.
The benefits of instant payments to consumers and businesses today are still limited: only 14% of Euro transfers were instant by the end of 2022. Therefore, the Commission’s legislative proposal is a very important step forward for the widespread adoption of instant payments. The nature of sending and receiving payments requires a significant network of players for a strong solution to take hold. While the uptake of SEPA Instant has grown gradually over the past years, with many firms rolling out instant payments already, the legislation now provides an opportunity to cement instant payments as a key feature of the European payment system.
We recognise that this will require investment from the many players involved, including fintechs and banks. However, we strongly believe consumers and businesses, including the wider financial sector, will greatly benefit and therefore this investment is urgently needed. It should also be noted that many have made these investments already. The ambitious timelines laid out by the Commission will ensure the EU remains a leader in digital payments and financial technology. This will directly benefit businesses and consumers through more competition and choice in EU-wide payment methods, especially in a tougher economic environment, and provide a genuine boon to the real economy.
As a result, we strongly encourage co-legislators to ensure that the ambitions set out by the Commission’s proposal are upheld. We believe that policymakers should ensure that instant payments are widely reachable, inexpensive, safe and available to consumers and businesses as soon as possible. We thank you for your attention and remain at your disposal to provide additional information in the meantime.