The European Fintech Association (EFA) welcomes the provisional agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on 7 November 2023.
The Instant Payments Regulation (IPR) is a major step forward in enabling consumers and merchants across Europe and globally to benefit from the wide range of benefits that instant payments offer. These include allowing them to manage money more effectively by giving them instant and secure access to their funds, making it easier for merchants to deliver their products and services to consumers faster, and supporting the development of innovative new payment services for consumers.
EFA is especially delighted with the legislators’ decision to amend the Settlement Finality Directive (SFD) through the IPR, thus enabling Payment and Electronic Money Institutions (PIEMIs) to access the designated payment systems directly. Amending the SFD will lift a barrier that, until now, has upheld an unequal condition in the European payments market. We are convinced that PIEMIs direct access to the designated payment systems is crucial not only for the uptake of instant payments but for the competitive strength of Europe’s market and for consumers and merchants that rely on the services of these firms today. Consequently, amending the SFD will ensure that innovative European payment companies can play a full role in developing the European payments market and supporting European strategic autonomy.
We strongly support introducing an ambitious transition period to prevent any prolongation of the current imbalance in the European payments market and to ensure prompt uptake of instant payments. Therefore,we embrace the legislators’ decision to set a 9-month transition period for receiving and an 18-month transition period for sending instant payments within the euro area. Furthermore, we fully support the agreed requirement for PIEMIs to receive instant payments 6 months after the member states allow them direct access to designated payment systems.
It is essential to pursue the rollout of instant payments and the digital euro in the right competitive
environment from the start, and we believe that this will shift Europe’s payment market onto a truly European footing. Making instant payments the new norm and promoting fair and equal access to critical infrastructure is vital to achieving a truly competitive payment landscape, increasing the chances of a successful introduction of new payment methods based on instant payments.