Instant payment

Instant payment is a method of exchanging money and processing payments, allowing for almost immediate transfer of money between bank accounts, instead of the more typical one to three business days.[1]

Many countries have implemented instant payment systems, and many instant payment systems and platforms are currently under development worldwide, due to increased need for faster and reliable transactions.[1]

The Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) define instant payments as:

Electronic retail payment solutions available 24/7/365 and resulting in the immediate or close-to-immediate interbank clearing of the transaction and crediting of the payee’s account with confirmation to the payer (within seconds of payment initiation).[2]


The growth of e-commerce has caused changes in people's spending patterns. Shopping is no longer confined to regular business hours, creating new challenges for funds transfers.[3] Similarly, merchants require faster and more reliable money transfer systems to keep up with consumers' demands.[4]

Traditional electronic payments like simple bank transfers, that perform the electronic funds transfer within few business days, are not in line with user expectations. It is predicted[5][by whom?] that, in the next year,[when?] instant payments will become the standard for electronic fund transfers, where customers will be able to digitally access their insurers and manage their funds.[6]

Comparison with digital walletsEdit

In digital wallet based payment systems like Paytm, PayPal, Apple Pay, AliPay, WeChat Pay, etc., users receive immediate notification of the transaction, but funds are transferred at best in the next business day.

The settlement time depends on the underpinning payment method chosen by the customer, while for instant payment systems, the funds are transferred within seconds or minutes.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Are instant payments becoming the new normal? A comparative study" (PDF). European Central Bank. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Instant payments definition". European Central Bank. 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Digital transformation of the retail payments ecosystem" (PDF). Banca d'Italia. 30 November 2017. p. 3. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  4. ^ "What are instant payments?". InstaPay. 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  5. ^ PYMNTS (1 January 2019). "2019: The Year Of Instant Payments". Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Instant payments are the future - here's why". Nordea. 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2018.