Czech Banks Offer Instant Payment Services

In the Czech Republic, instant payment services have been available for over four years. These services allow clients to transfer money between banks in just a few seconds. Almost all banks offer this service except UniCredit Bank and Max Bank.

Air Bank and Česká spořitelna were pioneers in providing instant payments in February 2019, and gradually other banks have been added to the list. However, UniCredit Bank still works on the implementation of instant payments. “The launch of instant payments is technically linked to the launch of other digital projects that we are currently preparing,” said Petr Plocek, a spokesperson for the bank.

Max Bank (formerly Expobank CZ, owned by Creditas Group) does not offer instant payments. The implementation of instant payments has been delayed due to the bank’s sale to a new owner. “We plan to introduce instant payments around mid-2024,” said Anna Bakošová, a spokesperson for the bank. However, according to the latest reports, Max Bank is expected to merge with Bank Creditas, which already provides instant payments, in the second half of next year.

Building savings banks are not participants in the instant payment scheme. If you wanted to send money to your building savings account beyond the regular deposits, you would have to choose a standard payment.

Instant payment is a one-time, domestic payment that can be easily entered via the Internet or mobile banking. If the recipient’s bank supports instant payments (the overview is available on the CNB website), the payment is credited to their account within seconds. Instant payment differs from a standard payment in that it is sent immediately and accounted for directly. (Source: ČSOB)

Express payment is a fast payment to recipients’ accounts in other banks that can be entered via Internet and mobile banking or at a branch only on working days, always before a specific time (usually around 2:00 PM). The bank sends it to the recipient’s account on the same day. Banks charge a fee for express payments in hundreds of crowns.

Customers still have the option to use so-called express (priority) payments, where payment orders are processed preferentially. However, this service is charged, and banks charge more than 100 crowns per order. Regarding instant payments, banks do not capture any special fees.

The introduction of instant payments has greatly simplified money transfers. The condition for their use is that both the payer and the recipient bank provide this service. “Instant payments occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. However, this service is not guaranteed. If the payer/recipient bank has technical problems at that time, the payment will be processed as a standard outbound payment,” says Česká spořitelna on its website.

A list of banks supporting instant payments is available on the CNB website.

When entering a payment, the client can choose whether they want their income processed as an instant or standard price. “The client chooses between standard and instant payment,” said Pavla Kuklová from ČSOB.

“Payments that meet the conditions are sent as instant by default. If the recipient bank does not allow instant payments, the payment is sent regularly,” added Michal Teubner from Komerční banka.

Orders for instant payments can only be entered in Czech crowns. However, this does not apply to standing orders, collections, or forward maturity payments.

As a one-time instant payment, banks allow you to send up to CZK 400,000, while ČSOB allows up to CZK 2.5 million, but Fio Bank only CZK 100,000.

“Limit for incoming instant payment is not limited by the bank. We accept instant payments up to the maximum amount according to Certis rules, which is CZK 2.5 million,” added Raiffeisenbank spokesperson Tereza Kaiseršotová, specifying that the Certis rules further state: “The maximum limit for the amount of one payment is set at CZK 2.5 million, and the minimum is CZK 0.01. The payer bank can set a lower upper limit for its clients’ outbound payment but must accept the payment up to the maximum limit.”