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Home Fintechs The Rise of Real-Time Payments: A Look at the Czech Republic's Journey

The Rise of Real-Time Payments: A Look at the Czech Republic’s Journey

According to a recent study by PYMNTS, more than 60 countries globally have adopted or are in the process of developing a national or regional real-time payments scheme.

In Europe, the use of instant payments has grown significantly in recent years, with countries within the European Union developing schemes to ensure quick and seamless cross-border payments across the region.

SEPA Instant Credit Transfer Scheme

One of the main continentwide systems that facilitate these payments is the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer scheme, also known as SEPA Instant. Launched in 2017, this scheme enables fast euro payments across the 36 countries within the SEPA zone.

On a domestic level, some SEPA countries where the euro is not the local currency have also developed payment systems to complement the existing pan-European scheme. The Czech Republic, for example, launched its own real-time payment system, the Czech Express Real-Time Interbank Gross Settlement (CERTIS), back in 1992.

As of December 1, 2022, over 50 banks and payment service providers (PSPs) in the Czech Republic voluntarily participate in the instant payment system, according to data from the Czech National Bank. However, a lesser number of participating Czech FIs and PSPs (20 in total) have adhered to the SEPA Instant scheme as of March this year, per data from the European Payments Council (EPC)’s Register of Scheme Participants.

Untapped Potential in the Czech Republic

Despite the availability of real-time payment systems, the adoption rate in the Czech Republic has been slow, with real-time payments accounting for just 3.5% of the country’s payment transaction volume in 2021.

This signals a large untapped potential in the country’s real-time payments landscape.

PYMNTS research supports this notion, with projections indicating that daily real-time payments volume in the country is set to hit 662 million in 2026, up from 186 million in 2021, growing at an annual rate of 29%.

Final Thoughts

The Czech Republic’s journey in real-time payments highlights the growing importance of these payment systems worldwide.

While adoption rates may currently be slow, the projections for future growth are promising, and it is likely that we will see an increasing number of countries and financial institutions developing and adopting real-time payment systems in the coming years.

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