With SWIFT gpi bringing transparency and speed to the world of instant payments, it is pertinent to examine the difference in take-up between European and Asian banks. Also important is understanding what this level of ‘instantaneity’ means for the future of corporate treasury management.
Instant payments are a new reality in many countries and their adoption has accelerated over the past few years, particularly in Europe where SEPA Instant Credit Transfers (SCT Inst) already account for 8% of SEPA volumes. In 2020, RT1 recorded almost a doubling of the SCT Inst with an average transaction amount of €576.
This growth is steady and analysts foresee that, within a couple of years, one in two payments in Europe could be instant, with the majority being in the retail environment. In Spain, they already account for about a third of all credit transfers, with 1m instant payments processed daily. Other leading countries in terms of volumes include Italy, Belgium, where SCT Inst represents almost 15% of volumes, and France, which has a monthly volume of 5m payments. In the Asia-Pacific region, where instant payment methods are also extremely popular, the numbers are even more striking. In India, for example, more than 1 billion instant payments are made a year.
But while adoption of domestic instant payments systems among individuals is increasing at an unprecedented rate, adoption by businesses is far slower and remains limited to specific use cases where employing this payment method is a differentiating factor for a new commercial service.