Germany was one of the first countries to adopt the pan-European scheme SCT Inst in 2017 and usage has been significant ever since, with transaction growth of 218% YOY. Since launch, IPs are already hugely popular with even more potential.

In Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, SCT Inst enables customers to transfer money to accounts at participating banks in the payments network. It supports both individual and business transactions and enables P2P, C2B, B2C and B2B payments directly between accounts via different channels, such as online and mobile banking. There is a maximum transaction limit of €15,000 ($17,183), the standard for SCT Inst.

As of January 2020, there are a total of 1,282 participants, including all major banks, connected to the scheme within Germany. All SCT Inst transactions are processed by clearing and settlement mechanisms (CSMs) including TIPS and RT1, both of which are available to banks in Germany.



  • Consumers
  • Banks
  • Merchants
  • Billers



Population banking level


Number of debit, credit and charge cards per adult


Index to global average



Key statistics


IP launch year

Immediate payments types

Single instance, bulk payments

Initiation & authorization

Bank account

ISO 20022

Message standard









% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have used it in the past year

Share of volumes by payments instrument



Spend (USD)

  • Paper-based payments
  • Electronic payments
  • Immediate payments

Immediate payments volume and its share in overall NON-PAPER-BASED transactions, 2018-24f

% of total electronic payments transaction volume


Of the various countries instituting SCT Inst, Germany presents a market with perhaps the greatest potential for IP adoption and growth.

The market’s current heavy reliance on paper-based payments, combined with lower ownership of payment cards, offers a strong opportunity for IP cannibalization of cash and checks.

Additionally, Germany has a strong network of participants accepting IP which will trigger additional usage. Growth in Germany could be even stronger than current forecasts if payment initiation methods expand to improve convenience and ease of use for consumers and merchants. The introduction by payment fintechs of new integrations with seamless and innovative user experiences will also drive further consumers toward IP adoption.

ACI’s take

Although Germany has seen relatively fragmented implementation of IP up until now, the market is clear that it expects IP to become the new normal.

German consumers and businesses are discerning with new payment options, and look for a clear benefit to be extracted from innovations.

With that in mind, merchants are particularly focused on the cost and payment guarantee benefits of IP, and the largest merchants are already beginning to test the IP waters. Banks need to begin preparing for the rise in digital transaction volumes and get ready for the rigors of IP processing.


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