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Payments system now allows instant transfers

SICOI (interbank clearing system) – the payments system managed and regulated by Banco de Portugal which processes most day-to-day payment transactions initiated by individuals and businesses in Portugal – now allows Instant Transfer processing.

Payment service providers (namely banks, payment institutions and electronic money institutions) now have a new SICOI subsystem at their disposal, offering continuous processing of credit transfers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with the funds arriving in the beneficiary's account in seconds.

This new Instant Transfers subsystem was developed according to the pan-European requirements established for processing these transactions, strengthening the implementation of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), and the general adoption of standardised practices and procedures at European level.

The processing model established for Instant Transfers (SEPA Instant Credit Transfer – SCTinst), defines the following for these payment transactions:

  • The funds must be available to the beneficiary in a maximum of 10 seconds;
  • Transactions must be permitted up to a maximum amount of €15,000;
  • The service must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year;
  • Processing must be possible for beneficiaries in any of the SEPA countries.

However, it is important to note that participation in the Instant Transfers subsystem is optional for payment service providers and as a result not all the active institutions in the Portuguese retail payment services market will have this solution available for their customers at first. Nevertheless, a gradual increase in coverage and breadth over the next few months is expected, both in terms of the participating institutions and the segments and channels offering the service.

For more information, interested customers should contact their payment service provider.