Instant payments

The advent of new technologies has also brought changes to people’s habits and expectations in the area of payments. Many users of payment services expect to be able to make payments anywhere, anytime, as quickly as possible. This demand is being exploited by entities who are not credit institutions in order to enter the payment services market, most notably tech giants and fintech firms. The former initially offer payment services as ancillary services, but thanks to their ownership of the modern technologies that provide a good user experience, are able to grow these services into a fundamental part of their package.

In response to the requirements of users on one hand, and the advent of non-bank providers on the payment services market on the other, banks have begun to offer instant payment services. These are payments that are continuously available (24 hours a day, every day of the year), where the payee receives the money within a few seconds of the order being submitted by the payer.

To ensure the standardisation of instant payments, a pan-European scheme for instant payments (SCT Inst) (hereinafter: the scheme) has been put in place by European Payments Council since November 2017. On its basis all payment service providers offer instant payments services to their customers in the same way for domestic and cross-border payments. For the moment payment service providers can accede to the scheme on a voluntary basis, but it is expected that this approach will become mandatory for the majority of payment service providers in the EU, including for all Slovenian credit institutions providing payment services.

Work to establish instant payments has also been ongoing in Slovenia for quite some time now. The infrastructure for executing domestic instant payments was put in place under the aegis of Bankart in early 2019, and the development of solutions for end users was also undertaken. As of November 2018 Bank of Slovenia has allowed Slovenian credit institutions to open a special account with it via which they can execute domestic and cross-border instant payments. Execution proceeds in central bank money via the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) infrastructure put in place in November 2018 by the Eurosystem. From November 2021 onwards, inclusion in TIPS will be mandatory for all TARGET2 participants who have joined the scheme. Through their inclusion in TIPS, Slovenian credit institutions will also be able to provide cross-border instant payment services for their customers.