SCT Inst scheme – where are we now and where are we heading?

SCT Inst scheme – where are we now and where are we heading?

28 November 22

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This time of the year is very special for the European Payments Council ( ): the Single Euro Payments Area ( ) Instant credit transfer ( ) scheme is celebrating its fifth anniversary! To mark this occasion, we are sharing the most significant achievements of the scheme, its opportunities, challenges, and future goals.

Where we are today?

The scheme was successfully launched in November 2017. Since then, the scheme has just kept growing although at a slower pace since 2021. According to the latest data published in November 2022, the scheme now includes 2,313 from 29 European countries (the readiness date for the Croatian is 1 July 2023). They represent over sixty percent of European and more than seventy-one percent of in the euro area.

Moreover, a very large majority of payment accounts are reachable for in 15 countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland. 


Over thirteen percent of all euro credit transfers in the third quarter of 2022 were transactions, compared to about ten percent in the third quarter of 2021. This growth is expected to continue in the coming quarters.


payments deliver value to and their customers

Instant payments have the potential to develop in the person-to-person and person-to-business segments in situations where cash (and in some countries cheques) are currently still widely used. This would reduce the cost of managing cash and cheques, which are the most expensive means of payment at the level of the entire economy. 

offers many benefits to all payment stakeholders, be they end-users or service providers:

  • is real-time; the scheme allows the electronic transfer of money across Europe in under ten seconds, and in practice, ninety-nine percent of successful transactions are completed within five seconds.
  • is constantly available at any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.
  • has a targeted pan-European reach, progressively aiming for the full set of 36 countries.
  • supports a multitude of use cases; individuals, businesses, and government entities are able to use the scheme in many different circumstances.
  • Since 1 July 2020, the maximum amount per instruction has been set at one hundred thousand euros, further facilitating business-to-business transactions; this amount will increase in future. 

Furthermore, the Request-to-Pay scheme ( ) complements the scheme across a broad range of use cases such as retail commerce transactions at physical or online points of interaction, proximity person-to-person transactions, and business-to-customer and business-to-business e-invoicing. 

To put it simply, the scheme provides the instant certainty that the payment is done, and the combination of both the and schemes facilitates a new way to ‘orchestrate’ the payment process for euro transactions.

Furthermore, the Proxy Lookup ( ) scheme, which can also support , facilitates interoperability between participating (Person-to-Person) payment solutions by enabling the conversion of a proxy (mobile phone number, e-mail address) into a payment account identifier (IBAN) across .  

Additionally, the Payment Account Access ( ) scheme, which will be released by the end of November 2022, may also leverage the scheme. 

Digital transformation of payments

covers the full geographical scope of 36 European countries and territories, marking a major change in European payments and offering a tremendous opportunity for to continue to satisfy their customers in the digital age and in a harmonised way across Europe, which could be a good example for other regions of the world.

It is also worth mentioning in this context, the standardisation work carried out by the in coordination with interested stakeholders in the area of mobile-initiated (Instant) credit transfers (MSG MSCT). In June 2022, the published a document entitled “Standardisation of QR1-codes for MSCTs” and is now working on a new document on “Interoperability of MSCTs based on NFC2 or BLE3 ” which is planned to be submitted to a eight week public consultation towards the end of 2022. 

The Covid pandemic accelerated ongoing trends like a reduction in cash usage, an increase of instant, contactless and e-commerce card payments and growth in mobile account-to-account payments, so market evidence suggests that new payment solutions based on are being progressively developed and adopted. We strongly encourage the further take-up of instant payments, which will enable European to contribute to more innovation and harmonisation of payments in Europe. We hope that all these successful developments will incentivise that have not yet decided to rapidly join the scheme. If your institution plans to become an scheme participant, we would be happy to guide you through the adherence process.

The recently announced initiative of the European Commission in the area of instant payments may give a further impetus to adherence and usage.


 1 Quick-Response
 2 Near Field Communication
 3 Bluetooth Low Energy

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