Payset prespective
January 12, 2023

What are SEPA Instant Payments, and How Do They Work?

The SEPA instant payment protocol was built on the original SEPA Credit Transfer scheme. SEPA is a 2017 initiative by the European Union to provide a growing need for immediate cross-border payments.

The SEPA Credit Transfer scheme allows for almost-instant transfers to third-party accounts within the Eurozone. A transfer usually takes under 5 seconds but can take 20 in rare circumstances. The SEPA system works like a traditional bank transfer, but without the delays.

When a financial institution in the EU receives a SEPA payment request, the system recognises it as a SEPA transfer and processes it immediately, regardless of day and time.

However, there are conditions required for making a SEPA instant transfer:

  • Payments can only be sent to euro-denominated accounts
  • The maximum amount of the transfer is 100 000 EUR
  • Both the payee and the recipient should have banks that are participants in the instant SEPA scheme.

How Does SEPA Instant Transfer Work?

Banks usually process credit transfers in batches, meaning that you can send a payment to your bank at any time during the day. Banks typically group these transactions into a "big batch" and then will send them to the clearing and settlement department at the end of the business day.

SEPA instant payments are processed on a payment-by-payment basis. Payment Service Providers recognize transfers that are SEPA instant transactions and process them in real time.

Why Was SEPA Instant Created?

Prior to SEPA, the traditional banking system could take days to clear cross-border transactions, even within the EU, and they often came with large fees.

Another problem specifically for B2B transactions was that many countries used different systems, with some being more advanced. Countries such as Germany and Norway created their own payment solutions that were not perfectly compatible with other nations. This led to a slowdown in cross-border payments and a fragmented banking system -- not a great advertisement for a single currency region.

The SEPA Instant Transfer scheme was created to address this problem, allowing individuals and businesses to use it for quick and easy transfers within the Single Euro Payments Area. There are 36 countries and territories which can be reached via SEPA instant transfers.

SEPA Instant and Its Impact on Payments

The SEPA system was created to tap into the advancements in payments technology created by the increased digitalization of financial infrastructure. Developments such as e-money wallets have shown people that they can demand faster cross-border payments and the banking sector has had to play catch up.

Recent data has shown that 2272 payment service providers (representing 56% of European PSPs) have already joined the SEPA scheme. This development has been welcomed both by individuals and businesses and shows a clear path ahead for future development and growth.

Why Use SEPA for B2B Transactions?

The maximum transaction amount of €100,000 is a suitable level for most small and medium sized operations and the instant transfer element makes it easy to make multiple smaller transactions if necessary.

  • Speed

Traditional transfers can take up to 3 days to arrive, but with SEPA Instant, over 99% of transactions are completed in less than five seconds. This would remove the possibility of a manufacturer waiting three days before commencing work orders, for example.

  • Flexibility

SEPA Instant Transfer can be done with different payment options: credit transfer, direct debit, or a payment card. They also work with different clearing structures.

  • Availability

Instant payments need to be executed in real-time, but they also need to be accessible on a 24/7 basis. This provides a constant availability of payment systems to access instant payments outside regular business hours across a calendar year. This helps especially for companies that work extended hours such as night shifts or weekend work.

The benefits of SEPA transfers are among the reasons online Payment Service Providers are becoming the “new normal” since business do not want to go back to a 3-day transfer, which is only available on a 9am to 5pm basis.

How Can Payset Help with Your SEPA Instant Transfers

Payset is UK-based payment service provider that can process SEPA instant transfers for its customers. Payset clients are able to send international Euro transfers within the EU using SEPA instant as if they were local payments. (It is also possible to send local transfers in the UK, US, and Canada).

Payset also provides access to numerous other payment networks, including, SWIFT, CHAPS, ACH, Faster Payments, and EFT.

Payset also offers additional services for businesses, such as multi-currency accounts and currency exchange.

open account

Frequently asked questions

What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?

A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.

You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.

A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.

  • Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
  • Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
  • Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS. 
  • Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
  • We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days

Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?

No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.

However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.

How is Payset regulated?

Payset is regulated as an authorized Electronic Money Institution by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Our activities are also regulated by the Payment Services Regulation 2017 and the Electronic Money Regulation 2011 (SI 2011/99).

How do I send money from my account?

Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.

Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.

Information contained in this publication is provided for general education and information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, investment or other professional advice or recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions or any other actions (or refraining therefrom); This material has been prepared without taking into account any particular recipient’s financial objectives or situation. We make no warranty, guarantee or representation, whether express or implied, as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or fitness thereof for a particular purpose; Use of images and symbols is made for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or advice to take or refraining from any action; Use of brand logos does not necessarily imply a contractual relationship between us and the entities owning the logos, nor does it represent an endorsement of any such entity by Pay Set Limited, or vice versa; Market information is made available to you only as a service, and we do not endorse or approve it; Any reference to past performance, predicted returns, or likelihood performance scenarios may not reflect actual future performance and certainly do not guarantee future outcomes.

Manage Global Payment with a Payset Business Account

Rating star

I wanted to express my appreciation for the successful cooperation between my firm and Payset. I would like to point out in particular the professionalism, the manner in which requests are handled, the quick response time and the satisfaction of the clients. I strongly believes that we will continue to move forward and create many collaborations in the future

Asaf and the team
Rating star

The experience of using PaySet account was really interesting. It is one of the most ergonomic systems I have ever used. Support provided is fast and enquires are resolved in no time. I am very satisfied for using this account! Keep going guys!

Christina Loizou
Accountant at Lytria
Rating star

Through our experience with Payset we are happy to say the services provided were accommodated to our needs perfectly and were performed professionally. The support and customer care is fast and efficient, no question or request is left unanswered or unresolved. 10/10

Payments and Risk Manager, CanadaP LTD
Rating star

For the past year, we have worked hand in hand with Payset Limited to assist us with numerous payments related services. At no one time have they failed me, and they have always been on time, making them one of our top reliable business partners.

Clearsky network
Payments Team
Clearsky Network

Getting started is easy

Say Hi

Say hi

Share a few details about your business and leave us your contact info

Get on Board

Get on board

An account executive will guide you through the on-boarding process which is quick and simple

Enjoy using it

Enjoy using it

Log-in to your account to manage your funds 24/7 and enjoy low fees and fast execution

Open account