On 26 February 2024, the European Council adopted a new regulation, the Instant Payments Regulation. This will make instant payments in euro fully available to consumers and businesses in the EU and in EEA countries.

And the clock is already ticking. The EU has set an ambitious, some would argue an overly ambitious and unrealistic, target date to be compliant.

The regulations will come into effect in just three weeks. The aim of the regulations is clearly understood. That is to

enhance the strategic independence of the European economic and financial sector. It aims to reduce reliance on financial institutions and infrastructures of third countries and specifically Visa and Mastercard. The EU argues that over-dependence on such entities can create risks to the stability and sovereignty of the European financial system. By promoting Euro Instant Payments, the EU seeks to diminish this reliance. In turn, it strengthens its own financial autonomy.

Unprecedented in terms of scale and speed, colossal challenge

Craig Ramsey, Global Head of Real-Time Payments at ACI Worldwide said: “With the official publication in the European Journal, the EU has today confirmed the new Instant Payments Regulation will come into effect on 8 April.

From this date, banks and payment service providers across the EU’s 27 member states will have just nine months to comply. This means being able to receive instant credit transfers in Euros by 9 January 2025.

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Never has a piece of payments regulation been so ambitious in terms of scale and speed. Financial institutions across the EU will need to work incredibly fast. This pace of change is unheard of and will present a colossal challenge for the industry. The whole sector needs to make this a singular priority.”