Use of instant payments continues to grow

Advantages for private individuals and companies with SEPA real-time transfers

For years, we have been communicating in seconds via e-mail or messenger services. But a standard SEPA transfer still takes up to one business day despite online banking. This means that a transfer made online by a bank customer on a Saturday, for example, is processed by the bank on Monday and may well not arrive until the Tuesday.

SEPA Instant Payments are a faster way to pay. The transfer is carried out in real time and the money arrives within 10 seconds – 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

SEPA Instant Payments (real-time transfers) offered by many banks

The prerequisite for instant payments is that both the payer’s bank and the recipient’s bank offer the necessary services. Both allowing customers to make real-time transfers and being able to receive them are voluntary for banks. However, most banks already offer instant payment. If you’re not sure if your bank does this already, you will probably find the answer on its website. Or you can have a look at the European Payment Council (EPC) overview of participating banks.


The key advantages of instant payments are:

  • Speed

    Instant payments are made directly in real time. The payment is received in the recipient's account within a maximum of 10 seconds.

  • Security

    The receipt of payment cannot be revoked. A subsequent chargeback, as with direct debit, is not possible. Within a maximum of 25 seconds the recipient’s bank will also confirm whether the sum has been accepted or rejected.

  • Availability

    Real-time transfers are possible throughout the SEPA currency area around the clock, 365 days a year. Up to 100,000 euros can be transferred instantly.

"Fast payments are often a real competitive advantage. Instant payments could become the new standard not only in e-commerce, but also for telecommunications service providers, insurance companies and many other businesses."
Peter Hiekmann, VP Sales bei finAPI
Peter Hiekmann
VP Sales

Use cases for private individuals

Real-time transfers can make our everyday lives much easier. Take for example the purchase of a used car. Until now the buyer often had to bring the entire sum in cash in order to be able to take the car with papers immediately. With SEPA instant payments withdrawing and carrying around large amounts of cash is no longer necessary. The buyer can transfer payment in real time. The seller can see that the money is in his account, and then hands over the car keys and papers to the buyer.

Another example is going to a restaurant with a group of friends. One person can pay the total, and all the others transfer their part of the bill to that person instantly. You can also do this using PayPal, but not everyone has a PayPal account. Almost everyone, on the other hand, has a current account from which transfers can be made online. According to Statista, only 1% of all adults in Germany do not have a bank account.

Use cases for companies

The ways in which companies use and profit from real-time transfers are very different, depending on the industry and individual company. In retail and e-commerce, instant payments reduce the time between ordering and payment to just a few seconds. In industries where cash payment is still common, e.g. in used car sales, cash can be replaced making payment easier and more secure. Seasonal and temporary employees can be paid immediately without using cash. And tax payments can be transferred at the last minute.

The most important advantages for companies through instant payments

  • Faster shipment of goods

    Often goods are not shipped until payment has been received. Immediate payment means order-making and shipping can begin almost immediately as well.

  • Immediate contract conclusion

    Contracts can be put into effect in seconds in a legally secure manner, as the receipt of payment is immediate. Insurance companies, telecommunications companies and many other companies benefit from this.

  • Higher liquidity

    The faster inflow of money leads to higher liquidity and better cash-flow management.

  • Secure payments

    Unlike direct debits, bank transfers cannot be recalled. A plus point for the security of the payment method.

  • Risk-free

    Stores can offer instant payment to any customer without additional credit checks. If the customer's account has sufficient funds, the real-time transfer is executed immediately - without the risk of the payment not going through.

  • Optimized processes and reduced costs

    Real-time transfers are easy to implement and a convenient payment method for you and your customers. There are no follow-up costs for reminders or receivables management.

  • Satisfied customers

    Returns can be refunded via instant payment. This increases the number of satisfied customers and makes it more likely that they will make further purchases.

Would you like to use Instant Payments with finAPI in your company? Then get in touch with us. With finAPI Webform 2.0, implementation is quick and easy, and you can benefit from all the advantages mentioned above in no time at all.