Belgium’s Real-Time Payments Volume to Exceed 1B by 2026 Despite Slow Adoption

Belgium was not one of the early adopters of the EU’s SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (also referred to as SEPA Instant or SCT Inst) real-time payments scheme, joining the platform nearly two years after it was introduced in November 2017.

Since then, customers and businesses in the country can clear cashless payments of up to €100,000 (about $106,000) in seconds once a participating bank or payment service provider (PSP) recognizes it as a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transaction.

And according to the 2022 figures from the European Payments Council (EPC), 61% (2,313 in total) of European PSPs have already adhered to the scheme, with 29 out of the 36 countries offering SCT Inst.

The scheme has been touted as a game-changer in meeting the growing demand for quick and seamless cross-border payments in the region, which is home to some of the most developed and widespread real-time payments schemes in the world.

But since joining the platform, instant payments in Belgium have yet to take off in a significant way. In fact, according to PYMNTS’ “The Real-Time Payments World Map” report, published in collaboration with The Clearing House, real-time payments adoption in the country remains at the nascent stage and  stands at just 1.6% of the nation’s total payments volume, one of the lowest recorded across the region.

However, this percentage is expected to rapidly increase in the next couple of years, with real-time payments volume in the European country projected to hit 1.5 billion by 2026, up from 115 million in 2021.

The latest Register of Scheme Participants from the EPC also shows that over 50 Belgian financial institutions and PSPs are offering the service as of March, which out of the  85 credit institutions operating in Belgium, can be seen as a strong indication of banks’ interest to drive real-time payment adoption in the country.


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