Instant payments

This service allows customers to make payments that reach the recipient in just a few seconds.

How do they work?

You need to download the application offered by the instant payment service provider (bank, payment institution or electronic money institution) and to link it up to a mobile phone number, an e-mail address, an account or means of payment. You will then be ready to make instant payments to anyone else who belongs to the system, simply by providing their mobile phone number. The payment will be settled in just a few seconds. 

Which are the main differences compared to other means of payment?

  • Compared to bank transfers: instant payments are faster, taking just a few seconds to be settled, while bank transfers can take up to two days to reach the recipient’s account.
  • Compared to cards: the recipient of an instant payment receives the money in a matter of seconds, while a card payment can take a few days or even weeks.

A new standard for instant payments has been in use since 21 November 2017 (the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer Scheme). Initially in operation in eight EU Member States, including Spain, it allows domestic and international transfers of up to €15,000 to be settled within ten seconds. In addition, the new TIPS (Target Instant Payment Settlement) platform will become operational in November 2018. This is a comprehensive pan-European service offered by the Eurosystem that will extend the range of possibilities available to financial institutions, companies and citizens. This new platform will improve and develop the instant payment service, offering it to a larger number of financial institutions and their customers.

Can I be charged fees?

Instant payments service providers may charge fees for instant payment services, but they must inform you in advance that a fee will be charged.

Is there a limit?

Each financial institution may set a maximum limit for the amount of each payment.

There is an initiative promoted by most Spanish banks, consisting of a technology platform that provides this service (BIZUMAbre en ventana nueva). Other financial institutions are implementing similar initiatives.


Did you find this information useful?