France’s Real-Time Payments Volume Set to Grow 10X by 2026

According to a recent PYMNTS study on instant payments, there are more than 60 countries that possess or are in the process of developing a real-time payments scheme on a national or regional level.

In Europe, instant payments have seen historic growth in recent years, with European Union countries leveraging their preexisting economic relationships to ensure quick and seamless cross-border payments for consumers and businesses in the region.

One of the continent’s largest economies, France, is expected to see growth in the real-time payments sector add 2.8% to the GDP over the next five years, per the study.

In fact, daily real-time payments volume in France, which was one of the first adopters of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer scheme (SEPA Instant), is projected to hit 1.2 billion in 2026, up from 108 million in 2021.


Introduced in November 2017, the intra-European payments scheme was built with the promise of ultra-fast euro payments across the 36 countries within the SEPA zone, and continues to gain traction amid uneven growth across the region.

But per PYMNTS’ report, France’s real-time payments opportunity remains largely untapped, and unlike other European countries such as the U.K., Finland or Sweden, the country does not have a domestic real-time payments network.

It’s a national gap that the central bank, La Banque de France, acknowledged in a website post last year, while noting that supporting the deployment of instant transfers is one of the main objectives of the nation’s cashless payment strategy for 2019-2024.

In line with PYMNTS’ report findings, the central bank report also noted that France has not yet fully tapped into the potential of instant payments, which is the result of a lack of awareness of the service among individuals and merchants, despite its many advantages.

“This is why the Committee is launching a communication campaign to raise awareness of instant money transfers and the opportunities they offer, while reassuring users of the security of these solutions,” the report stated.

In the meantime, the high number of participants among French banks and payment service providers (PSPs) to the SEPA Instant scheme so far could be a sign that the country’s financial services sector is keen to accelerate the adoption of real-time payments.

According to the latest Register of Scheme Participants from the European Payments Council (EPC), France has close to 290 participating financial institutions (FIs) and PSPs in SEPA Instant as of March this year, the third-highest in Europe behind Germany and Austria.


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