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SEPA Instant Payments Scheme: How Does It Work?

SEPA Instant transfers, the possibility to execute payments within the SEPA payments network in less than a minute, have recently been enabled on the Bankera internet banking platform. The new feature is an excellent achievement for our project and a significant advancement for the cross-border payments system in general.

Benefits of SEPA Instant

The European Payments Council first proposed the idea of SEPA Instant Credit Transfers (otherwise known as SEPA Instant) in 2015. At that point, instant payment systems in Europe have only been functioning on a local level. SEPA made a breakthrough by offering a universal solution for the whole continent.


SEPA Instant is sometimes regarded as the closest substitute of cash. While regular SEPA payments are already a fast and cheap way of transferring money within Europe, instant transfers might feel like paying with cash in physical shops – your money is handed to the receiver in seconds.


Additionally, SEPA Instant eliminates the obstacle of manual payment execution. They are not tied to office hours and can be completed round the clock, even on public holidays and weekends.

How does SEPA Instant work?

To explain the concept of SEPA Instant, let’s take a look at regular SEPA payments. These payments are processed once or a few times a day, as they are sent in batches – one batch might contain several transfers at once. 


SEPA Instant, on the other hand, processes each payment individually. There is no need for the batch to be gathered, and it significantly decreases the time required to process the payment.


For instance, if you are making a transfer from Bankera to another payment service provider that supports SEPA Instant, your transaction will be processed as follows:


1. Bankera checks that all obligatory features to process your payment are in place and informs the beneficiary’s payment service provider.

2. The beneficiary has ten seconds to report if the money has been available to the receiver or reject the transaction.

3. If the beneficiary’s financial institution accepts the transaction, the funds are credited to their account in a few seconds, and you receive the confirmation of successful payment at Bankera.


If a transaction gets rejected, it is usually due to the receiver’s service provider not supporting the instant payments feature. More than half of payment service providers that are part of the SEPA network have adopted the SEPA Instant payments in their systems these days. However, it is not a mandatory feature, and a portion of European financial institutions are still yet to adopt it.

22 February, 2021

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