Smart Payment Association unveils instant payment card proposals

Smart Payment Association (SPA), the global trade body of the smart payments industry, has published proposals for an Instant Payment Card that would extend SEPA instant Credit Transfer functionality to consumers paying at the point of sale (POS) terminals in stores and retail outlets across Europe.

The instant solution allows payments by individuals or businesses to be made in real-time, even during evenings and weekends when other options are unavailable.

This contrasts with other forms of money transfers and payments, including those made in-store and online with debit and credit cards, that can take several days to reach target accounts.

Under new proposals from SPA, real-time transfers could be made available to consumers in-store using an Instant Payment Card or smartphone app – in the same way as we would pay using the contact or contactless functionality on the conventional chip and PIN debit or credit cards today.

Alain Martin, President at SPA, who authored the paper, commented: “By showcasing how to make it possible to extend pan European instant payment options into the retail space, our proposals illustrate the art of the possible. They aim to build on the enthusiasm for such a solution amongst many retailers – further raising interest and triggering discussions within the wider payments industry.”

Designed to illustrate the possibility of this new in-store way to pay, the proposals by SPA showcase an approach that complies with existing EMV standards and takes advantage of existing payment terminals already widely adopted and operating across Europe.

By initiating instant payments at the POS using a payment card or app issued by banks, consumers would not only enjoy the fluidity, convenience and familiarity of conventional card-based payments, they would have more choice in how they pay. Merchants would be able to leverage existing POS infrastructures, while banks would benefit from reach and co-existence with today’s card schemes.