After a few years in the planning, the EU’s first cross-border free instant transfer service will come into operation on the 21st of his month, enabling instant transfers in real time between participating countries within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) will require participating institutions to process within ten seconds transfers which could previously take up to a few days, meaning no charge-back or revocability since funds will be available virtually simultaneously, as well as lower potential for fraud.
The limit for individual transfers is currently €15,000, but this is early days for the scheme and the limit will be reviewed annually. The European Bank says that it expects to have 85% of current clearing institutions on board by the end of next year. At the moment, some 150 Spanish financial institutions (banks and credit unions) have joined the initiative, almost all of them. The UK is in SEPA, at least at the moment, but any Sterling transfers remain outside the scheme, which is for Euros only.
The cost of these transfers will also be much lower than currently, with an initial cost of €0.20 possibly rising to €0.50 after two years. EU regulation allows the banks to pass these costs onto customers but Spanish banks say there will be no charge, at least to begin with.