EC gives green light for instant payments legislation in second half of 2022

By Liza Tetley on Thursday 10 February 2022

Digital Banking

The European Commission intends to legislate for coverage of instant payments throughout the Single European Payments Area (SEPA).

EC gives green light for instant payments legislation in second half of 2022
Image source: Mairead McGuinness/European Commission.

It’s good news for proponents of open banking payments on the European continent, as the European Commission announces its intention to legislate on instant payments to accelerate their adoption across the EU.  

Speaking at the 2022 Fintech and Regulation Conference, Mairead McGuinness, European commissioner for financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union, stressed the importance of regulatory frameworks in supporting the roll-out of payments innovations across Europe and their incorporation into SEPA.

The increasing number and diversity of market entrants in the payments sector in recent years have heightened the need for comprehensive regulatory frameworks that promote fair competition while also protecting customers.

The European Payments Council launched SEPA Instant Credit Transfer back in 2017, but a fragmented regulatory landscape for payments has since persisted and implementation has been underwhelming. Industry players argue that this has hindered the pace of development in the payments space and dinted Europe’s competitiveness globally.

"[Legislation] can't happen soon enough, with so much efficiency currently being lost due to the lack of a coherent EU-wide implementation of SEPA Instant,” said Joe Morley, general manager for Europe at open banking platform provider, TrueLayer.

“It needs to be ubiquitous and become the default option. There is no compelling reason why this cannot be the case when the solution exists - to date it's been an adoption problem. European businesses deserve better, and this is an easy win-win for cross border competitiveness within the EU for merchants and consumers."

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