The European Union Council on Monday adopted rules to make instant payments in the euro currency fully available round-the-clock in a move it expected to help European payments companies compete against U.S. firms Visa (V.N), opens new tab and Mastercard (MA.N), opens new tab.

The new regulation will allow customers to transfer euro-denominated money within 10 seconds at any time, including outside business hours, not only within the same country but also to another EU member state, the EU Council said

Currently, payments using existing cards and deposits can take several business days.

The Council added that the new rule would factor in countries outside of the euro-zone economic bloc.

“The new rules will improve the strategic autonomy of the European economic and financial sector as they will help reduce any excessive reliance on third-country financial institutions and infrastructures,” the EU Council said in a statement.

The EU has been working on reforms to prise open a payments market long dominated by banks and U.S. firms Visa and Mastercard, which are now being challenged by fintechs that offer rival services using data from customers’ bank accounts.



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