Belgium enabled real-time payments in the country with the March 2019 adoption of the pan-European real-time payments scheme SCT Inst, which was developed by the European Payments Council (EPC). The usage of real-time payments is still at a nascent stage, accounting for 1.6% of total payments volume in 2021. However, these payments are catching on fast in Belgium and are expected to grow at a CAGR of 66.2% from 2021-2026 in terms of volume.
Real-Time Payment Types
Year of Real-Time
Belgian banks have signed up to participate in the development and launch of the European Payments Initiative (EPI), which will see the convergence of card payments and real-time payments onto a new scheme with an accompanying digital wallet.
This will not only be a challenge, given the disruptive and wide-ranging nature of the proposed project, but also a major opportunity. EPI’s business-led drivers are likely to be a highly powerful starting point for widespread modernizations, more so than any technology-led need to refresh could ever be. Not only will it allow banks to get out from under high transaction fees paid to non-European payment networks, but it will also enable them to enjoy more ownership of innovation to, overall, offer better and more relevant services to customers at a lower cost. It will also likely allow them to leverage much of the infrastructure that they currently use to service both cross-border and domestic real-time payment use cases, and so maximizing those investments.
Some new functionality will be required, of course, and it will mean becoming familiar with new rules and new mandate maintenance requirements. They should take the opportunity to deliver this aspect of the project with a tech strategy that prioritizes having the flexibility to respond to changes while minimizing disruption. That means adopting solutions that will evolve with changing mandates and can take out any unpredictability around the costs of compliance once related services are in market and banks are outside of project mode.
Among the unintended and under explored consequences of the widespread real-time payments adoption that EPI hopes to create is the impact on core banking systems. Instantaneous balance updates are possible, and in many cases, not difficult. The challenge will be the sheer volume of channels that require this information. Customers will expect a real-time balance across mobile, internet, ATMs, in branch and digital wallets, and any embedded finance use cases they make use of.
Finally, EPI’s convergence of cards and real-time payments will likely involve a long, step-by-step modernization of card infrastructures. As that modernization develops, banks will become more motivated by the benefits of modernization to migrate other payment applications and services onto these new infrastructures.
Mobile Wallet Trends
% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have
used it in the past year (2021)
Real-Time Total Participants
Population Banking Level
Number of debit, credit and
charge cards per adult
Index to global average
F5 Yr CAGR
Payments Fraud Rate
Population who reported being a
victim of fraud in the last 4 years
Top 3 Payment Fraud Types
|% of fraud victims||Trend|
Card deails stolen online
Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument
- Paper-based payments
- Electronic payments
- Real-time payments
Real-Time Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f
Choose a Country
The Need for Speed to Market in Consumer Payments - Payments modernization as a response to customer demand
Fraud Management Insights
Expanding the Horizons of Fraud Detection - The Network Intelligence Approach to Machine Learning
Defining and Building the Next-Generation Payments Hub - Global survey report from ACI Worldwide and Edgar, Dunn & Company
Compare Market Insights in Your Region
Use this exclusive tool to compare and contrast regional real-time trends, and gain access to insights to help drive your real-time strategy.Get Started