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Easing the pressure – what financial institutions need to safely test and integrate the latest SEPA real-time standards

Instant payments innovation is accelerating across Europe. Are you keeping pace?

With Europe’s major financial institutions facing more operational pressures than ever before, staying up to date with the latest banking innovations is a perennial challenge. But while lagging behind is not an option in this disruptive era, there’s no escaping the fact that building new tech and integrating ecosystem changes take time. It’s complex.

A case in point is the European Payment Council (EPC)’s forthcoming upgrade to SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst). Delayed until March 2024 to allow IT teams with larger financial businesses to prepare, the 2021 SCT Inst rulebook version 1.2 will progress to 2023 SCT Inst rulebook version 1.1.

This will result in a number of updates, such as replacing the term ‘Customer’ with ‘Payment Service User’ to enable the Inst scheme to cater for both retail and Financial Institution-to-Financial Institution payment use cases. Additionally, the definitions of the terms ‘Originator’ and ’Beneficiary’ are being amended to reflect the possibility that PSPs might take up these roles. And the definition of the term ‘Payment Account’ is being changed to indicate that such an account can also be held by a PSP.

The 2023 SCT Inst rulebook will also feature changes set out in 2020, namely the migration of all ISO 20022 standard-based XML payment messages used under the Inst scheme, to the 2019 version of the ISO 20022 standard. On top of this, there will be an alignment of the attribute numbering between the four payment scheme rulebooks as of the respective 2023 rulebooks.

For banks, adopting the new rulebook version is a significant piece of work fraught with risk. Errors flagged during the SEPA certification process could delay integration, handing competitors an advantage. That’s why, whether you’re preparing to implement the 2023 rulebook changes or integrate with SCT Inst for the first time, it’s vital that you test all endpoints before launching.

Thanks to SEPA’s infrastructure, which is being harnessed by more than 60% of European payment service providers, millions of businesses and consumers across the continent are experiencing the convenience of real-time transactions and transfers. It’s vital then that banks have the tools necessary to safely test and integrate with today’s eCommerce and smartphone-based economy. That’s why an SCT Inst Testing Solution is vital.

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Anthony Walton, Iliad Solutions CEO.

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