Instant payments

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

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.

On 21 November 2017, a new standard for making instant transfers (the Sepa Instant Credit TransferAbre en ventana nueva scheme) was introduced. This service, which will initially be operational in 8 European Union countries, including Spain, allows for both domestic and cross-border transfers to be completed in less than 10 seconds, up to a limit of €100,000Abre en ventana nueva per transaction (before 1 July 2020, this limit was €15,000 per transaction). In addition, the TIPS ("Target Instant Payment SettlementAbre en ventana nueva") platform, a comprehensive pan-European solution launched by the Eurosystem which widens the range of possibilities available to banks, businesses and citizens, has been active since November 2018. More and more banks (and their customers) can now settle instant payments thanks to the development of instant payment settlement facilities.

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

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.


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