Introduction to payment schemes

Faster Payments, SEPA Instant and SEPA Credit.

What are payment schemes?

Payment schemes allow you to transfer money digitally from account to account.

When you make an account-to-account transfer within the UK via TrueLayer, the money moves through the Faster Payments scheme. These payments are free, and the money usually arrives in your beneficiary's account within a few seconds (though it can take up to 2 hours).

When you make a payment in Europe via TrueLayer, it uses one of two payment schemes:

  • SEPA Instant
  • SEPA Credit

Introduced in 2017, SEPA Instant enables faster and easier cross-border payments by giving users a way to transfer money in real time.

But SEPA Instant is optional — EU banks don’t have to provide it, and little more than half currently do. However, this number is increasing gradually, because regulatory change requires all banks that offer regular credit transfers to offer instant transfers too.

This table explains the differences between the payment schemes.

Payment schemePayment speedFeesAvailabilityCoverageRecommended use case
Faster PaymentsA few minutesNone24/7, 365 days a yearUK providersPayments in the UK
SEPA Instant15 secondsFees usually charged24/7, 365 days a yearSome European providersHigh-value, time-critical payments where the recipient needs to receive the money as soon as possible.
SEPA Credit1–2 business days, sometimes up to 3Usually none, but sometimes fees are chargedWithin business hours.

Not available on weekends or public holidays, and impacted by remitter and beneficiary bank cut-off times
All European providersTransactions where the recipient does not need to receive the funds immediately, such as business payments or salary disbursements.


SEPA Instant availability

If you have an account on Console, see our providers table for details on which providers support SEPA Instant.

Both SEPA Instant and SEPA Credit use the ISO 20022 standard for messaging, and are regulated by the European Central Bank.

Be aware that many people in Europe are unfamiliar with the terms SEPA Credit and SEPA Instant. We recommend not using these terms in your checkout.

SEPA Instant fees

When there is a fee for SEPA Instant payments, it is normally the end user who pays them. So it's important to communicate potential fees clearly and transparently to your users.

Below is a guide to typical flat fee amounts by country. Be aware that fees will differ from bank to bank, and some banks charge a percentage-based fee which may be much higher.

CountryFee amount
the Netherlands€0.08


Be aware of IBAN discrimination

Sometimes, fees change depending on which IBAN you receive payments with. Use a TrueLayer merchant account to bypass this.

Choosing a payment scheme

If you want to use a specific scheme for a payment:

  • set provider_selection to user_selected and use the provider_ids and excludes filters in the scheme_selection field
  • set provider_selection and scheme_selection to preselected and set the scheme_id to one of the values in the table below.
scheme_idPayment scheme
sepa_credit_transferSEPA Credit
sepa_credit_transfer_instantSEPA Instant
faster_payments_serviceFaster Payments
provider_determinedChosen by provider

The provider_determined scheme_id is only used by some providers who choose the payment scheme themselves (for example, Revolut). We cannot guarantee that payments are instant when you use provider_determined for the scheme_id, so providers that use it are treated as non-instant when you select a provider.

You cannot make payments over €100,000 through SEPA Instant.