Hungary’s banks test domestic instant payments

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Hungary’s commercial banks have started the initial testing phase of an instant payments scheme, with plans to go live on July 1 for domestic broadscale use.

According to a news report from Reuters, the new instant payments system, which has been under development since 2017, is planned for domestic transactions only. The instant transfers will be settled within five seconds and the maximum amount that can be sent is set at 10 million forints (about US$ 35,306).

GIRO Zrt, a Hungarian financial services industry organization that operates a domestic automated clearing house payments network, reportedly plans to utilize mobile phone numbers, giving senders an easier alternative to the current 24 digit bank account numbers.

Last September, Hungary’s GIRO Zrt announced that it was teaming up with Danish payments provider Nets A/S to create a Hungarian instant payments service. Nets A/S stated that the process would be similar to a “Request to Pay” service many Hungarians currently use to pay utility bills, and it will enable rapid settlement of single credit transfers when it launches.

Faster payments adoption in the U.S. has proceeded slowly, and has become a moderate source of contention among smaller banks and credit unions due to the high costs of implementation, a multitude of different payments rails such as Zelle, The Clearinghouse’s RTP, and Same Day ACH. In the example of the bank-run Zelle, some credit unions have expressed concern that signing up for the service would be giving revenue to their competitors.

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