ACI Worldwide Offers Instant Payments to UK and EU Merchants

ACI Worldwide has launched its instant payments solution for merchants in Europe and the U.K.

ACI Instant Pay will let merchants in these areas accept instant online, mobile and in-store payments by integrating with the real-time company’s payment orchestration platform, ACI said in a Monday (June 19) news release.

“Payments need to keep pace with an increasingly digital society. In Europe, 90% of people aged 16 to 74 now use the internet, and 74% buy or order goods online,” said Basant Singh, global head of ACI’s merchant business. “In our expanding ‘always on’ transactional world, giving and receiving money electronically should be as instantaneous as handing over cash.”

The release notes that the launch comes as banks in the eurozone are preparing for a new law that requires financial institutions in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) countries to offer instant payments under the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer plan.

The U.K. has also begun its own payments modernization efforts, the release notes, under its New Payments Architecture program. 

“Consequently, more merchants are expected to adopt instant payments and reap the benefits they offer for their business and customers,” ACI said.

The company argues that clearing funds immediately offers merchants more control over their cash flow, while eCommerce merchants who rely on fast delivery can see payments immediately, and release goods/services just as quickly. 

And as noted here recently, instant payments can benefit consumers as well as merchants, especially amid continued high inflation that has even high-earner households living paycheck to paycheck. 

PYMNTS’ research shows that 70% of urban dwellers, who were likelier than the population in general to have high wages, lived paycheck to paycheck. And instant disbursements are very popular among these households.

“Rather than having pending payments or checks waiting for the recipient to cash, money sent via real-time rails is moved between accounts instantly, so consumers know exactly how much money they have to work with at any given moment,” PYMNTS wrote last week. “This allows them to make better financial decisions and avoid accidentally overdrawing on their accounts, which can incur stiff fines from their banks and drive them further into financial trouble.”

The research found that — when offered the choice — nearly 7 in 10 paycheck-to-paycheck consumers picked instant disbursement options. Consumers were more divided on whether the privilege of knowing the whereabouts of their money and when it will arrive is worth paying an added charge. 

A little more than a quarter of consumers said they would willingly pay a fee to receive government disbursements instantly, for example, while 26% of bridge millennials who prefer instant disbursements would choose not to use them if forced to pay for these payments.