Small and Medium Enterprise in the European Union feel positive about the EU’s Instant Payments Regulation, according to Swift research. Specifically, many SMEs expect it to save them money, improve their cashflow, and increase their competitiveness. The instant payment regulation came into force in April. Swift surveyed SME decision makers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain who already transact cross-border within the EU.

Almost nine in ten expect to be impacted by the change. Some 44% of respondents say the regulation will save their business money. 27% think it will help improve their cashflow and one in five expect to be more competitive.

83% of respondents say upfront beneficiary checks are important to them.

October 2025 deadline: VoP for cross-border payments within SEPA

The regulation mandates Verification of Payee (VoP) for cross-border payments within the Single European Payment Area (SEPA) by October 2025. Many countries use VoP at a domestic level, but interoperability between schemes is critical to success on an international scale.

Swift says it is working to make it as simple as possible for financial institutions to comply with the regulation, by facilitating interoperability of VoP schemes through its Payment Pre-validation solution. This will ensure the secure transmission of standardised financial data. This is critical to the success of VoP as a friction-removing tool. It will also pave the way for its widespread use in cross-border payments, while enabling financial institutions to comply with the regulation at pace using their existing Swift connectivity.

CBI and SurePay are VoP providers that have already expanded their reach across Europe and beyond through collaboration with Swift.

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‘A landmark development for cross-border payments’

Marianne Demarchi, Chief Executive, EMEA, at Swift, said“The European regulation has the potential to be a landmark development for the cross-border payments industry. But financial institutions are under pressure to comply with the Verification of Payee element by the October 2025 deadline. Swift is ideally-placed at the heart of the industry to facilitate interoperability of VoP schemes. It is simplifying the compliance process for our community and giving users of cross-border payments peace of mind when sending money not just across borders within Europe, but also beyond.”

Currently, instant credit transfers across Europe account for less than 13% of the total. The regulation is the latest initiative focused on improving the European cross-border payments ecosystem. This follows on from the introduction in November of the European Payments Council’s One-Leg-Out Instant Credit Transfer scheme. In this scheme, Swift connects domestic instant payment systems within and outside of Europe, providing full transparency and end-to-end tracking.