From November 2018, Belgian consumers will be able to make instant payments, thus “rapidly and continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including public holidays.” Febelfin (the Belgian financial sector federation) indicated this on Thursday in a communiqué.
The money will reach the payee’s account in a few seconds, even if the latter’s account is with another bank. However, the Belgian financial sector federation has not stated which banks in Belgium will be in a position to offer this service from its first day of operation.
The spokeswoman for Febelfin, Isabelle Marchand, says “Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Poland and Switzerland already offer this option. Countries bordering Belgium, such as France and the Netherlands, are now developing the service but their service will only be in place in 2019.”
Febelfin emphasises that consumers will not be the only ones to benefit from this development. “Businesses will receive their payments more quickly, which will improve their cash flow. Payment service providers and local authorities will be able to improve their finance-based services in making faster payments.”
The initiative falls within a larger European framework. Instant payments may, in the future, be offered throughout the entire SEPA area. This latter facility only affects euro payments, specifically to countries outside of the eurozone (for example Sweden) and also countries which are not part of the European Union but within the SEPA area. These countries are Switzerland, San Marino, Norway, Monaco, Liechtenstein and Iceland.