EU Instant Payments Regulation Clears Final Hurdle

February 8, 2024
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Members of the European Parliament have adopted new rules to ensure transferred funds arrive immediately into the bank accounts of retail customers and businesses across the EU by a huge majority.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have adopted new rules to ensure transferred funds arrive immediately into the bank accounts of retail customers and businesses across the EU by a huge majority.

More than 80 percent of the European Parliament’s 705 MEPs have voted in favour of the instant payments legislative file, paving the way for instant credit transfers throughout the trading bloc. 

“The Instant Payments Regulation marks the long-awaited modernisation of payments in the European single market,” said Michiel Hoogeveen, the lead MEP for the legislation. 

Hoogeveen continued to say that customers “can now say goodbye to the inconvenience of waiting two or three working days to access their money”. 

“We are delivering on something that people and businesses truly care about: transferring money within 10 seconds at any time of the day,” the MEP, who sits with the eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists group, said. 

The new regulation, first proposed by the European Commission in October 2022, aims to make sure that retail clients and businesses will not have to wait for their money, as well as to enhance the safety of transfers. 

Going forward, banks and other payment service providers (PSPs) will have to ensure credit transfers are affordable and immediately processed, and further, payments and e-money institutions will now have access to payment systems in the EU. 

The text was agreed by negotiating MEPs and member state representatives in November last year. 

Now, the new rules should enter into force 20 days after publication in the EU Official Journal. 

After that, member states will have 12 months to apply the regulation.

Some member states have already been jumping ahead of the regulation. For example, in December, Latvia’s central bank confirmed that it will provide non-bank PSPs with the possibility to directly participate in the Electronic Clearing System (EKS).

The central bank also approved an initiative that will enable non-bank PSPs, and in the future also crypto-asset service providers, to open an account with the bank for the segregation of their customer funds. 

Overall, the legislative text was adopted with 599 votes to seven, and 35 abstentions.

Those abstaining included Mick Wallace, a leftist MEP who had criticised the legislation in Monday’s debate for failing to take stock of the energy consumption from instant payments.

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