Ongoing digitalisation has amplified the importance of electronic payments for the functioning of the European economy. In response, the European Commission has stepped-up its ambitions to create an integrated payment system and increasing the autonomy of existing means of payments.
Real time electronic payments, also known as instant payments, play a pivotal role in creating the desired homegrown pan-European integrated payment system for both online and point-of-sale payments. The European Commission is supported by various other public and private organisations, including the European Central Bank (ECB) and the various European banks collected in the European Payments Initiative (EPI).
Developing the full potential of instant payments remains very challenging. Ensuring 24/7 availability of payments requires an important investment in infrastructure and connectivity as well as cooperation between payment service providers that might be operating with different systems. Equally, guaranteeing consumer protection to the same level than other forms of payments is fundamental as instant payments must be secure to earn the trust of citizens.
Instant payments only accounted for about 7% of credit transfers in the first half of 2020. Both the European Commission and ECB have since taken several measures to reach full acceptance of instant payments by the end of this year. The European Commission will present a new proposal on instant payments in the second part of the year.
During this CEPS-ECRI conference, policymakers, national authorities and industry representatives will provide their insights on the application of instant payments in various EU Member States and discuss the policy challenges and interventions to develop the instant payments market.