The pros and cons of instant EFT

In our constantly switched-on world,  we (consumers) are increasingly expecting to get what we want quickly, round the clock, and at the push of a button. This also applies to the way we pay, with instant payments fast emerging as a preferred means of payment. 

This burgeoning demand for faster payment methods means it’s no longer a question of if adoption will occur, but when. After all, this is the age of instant gratification. Meaning, we expect the same level of immediacy we enjoy in so many other facets of our lives, applied to eCommerce payments. 

In fact, McKinsey asserts that the development of real-time payments and alternate payments solutions over the past few years has set the stage for retail payments disruption.

However, like with everything in life, there are both pros and cons associated with instant payments. Payflex has done all the heavy lifting for you, outlining the key benefits as well as drawbacks associated with this rapidly growing payment method. 

Instant Payment Pros 

1. Greater Convenience 

In the digital age, we expect to connect with services and products on a 24/7 basis. Instant payments mean consumers can make and receive payments 24/7, 365 days a year. This not only offers increased convenience, but a more seamless user experience. Plus, payments are received almost instantly instead of waiting a few days for a transaction to clear. 

2. Better Cash Flow Management

Greater control over the timing and certainty of payments means consumers and businesses are able to better manage cash flow.  Deloitte research echoes these sentiments, sayinginstant payments enable better cash management and help businesses better manage day-to-day operations by improving liquidity” 

3. A Viable Alternative to Cash

EFT payment processing offers a viable alternative to cash, especially among  South Africa’s unbanked. It is also a safer alternative to carrying around large sums of cash. 

4. Hassle-free Payment Method

Instant EFT payments offer a viable, hassle-free alternative to debit and credit cards.  They work on all browsers and smartphones and minimise delays during checkout.

Instant Payment Cons

  1. Greater Room for Error

There’s greater room for error in the case of user mistakes or attempted fraud.

2. Fees 

Instant EFT payments often come at a premium. This increases the barrier to entry for this type of payment.  

3. Difficult to Reverse

Instant EFTs are not easily reversible. The consumer could therefore be left vulnerable in the case of fraud or if they mistakenly enter incorrect account details. 

4. Fraud Risk

Because instant payments move much faster than traditional EFTs, there is greater room for error, meaning a greater risk of opportunistic fraudsters trying to take advantage of the immediacy of the payment solution. 


There’s no question that real-time payments will become an instrumental part of the payments landscape.  Additionally,  the COVID-led eCommerce boom is anticipated to further drive the rapid adoption of instant payments. Especially as consumers increasingly demand a frictionless, personalised, and ‘always on’ payment experience at checkout.