Following an agreement of the European Parliament, the EU Council, and the European Commission, 10-second bank transfers across the whole union may become a reality, news portal Economx.hu reports.
In 2022, EU Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness proposed new laws to make the service compulsory. At the time, the European Commission argued that the move would free up billions of euros that neither people nor businesses could spend at any given moment.
Now an agreement between MEPs, the European Commission, and the Council of the EU paves the way for a regulation on prompt payments, according to statements from the institutions, Euronews reports.
“Under the new plans, banks will have to provide the service to their customers at no extra cost and within strict deadlines,” said Dutch MEP Michiel Hoogeveen. A separate statement from the EU Council said that countries outside the eurozone, such as Sweden and Poland, will have a longer period to make the switch.
While the main outlines of the law have been agreed upon by representatives of the EU Council and European Parliament, it still needs to be signed by both EU institutions. Previous draft laws have suggested it will come into force between six and 36 months after finalization.
Agustin Reyna, legal and economic director of the EU consumer group BEUC, says this is good news for Europeans. “Consumers will be able to send and receive instant transfers at the same price as normal transfers, which are free in most cases.”
But banks, which sometimes offer instant payments as a premium product these days, are reluctant to lose their leeway.
“The market should be left to decide whether to offer instant payments and how much to pay,” the European Banking Federation said in a January statement on the draft law.