Euro­zone banks tackle Visa, Mastercard, others with home-grown pay­ments plat­form

Business a.m. - - TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION -

SIX­TEEN MA JOR EURO­ZONE BANKS have come to­gether to start the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a new pay­ment sys­tem to take on the might of Visa and Mastercard and the threat posed by Chi­nese and US big tech firms.

The Euro­pean Pay­ments Ini­tia­tive (EPI) aims to build a uni­fied pan-Euro­pean pay­ment sys­tem, of­fer­ing a card for con­sumers and mer­chants across Europe, a dig­i­tal wal­let and P2P pay­ments.

The banks back­ing the move are BBVA, BNP Paribas, Groupe BPCE, Caix­aBank, Com­merzbank, Crédit Agride­liv­er­ables cole, Crédit Mutuel, Deutsche Bank, Deutcher Sparkasse­nund Girover­band, DZ BANK Group, ING, KBC Group, La Banque Postale, Banco San­tander, So­ciété Générale, UniCredit.

They have the full sup­port of the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank (ECB), which has longfloate­d the idea of a home­grown cross-border scheme ca­pa­ble of tak­ing on the big brands, but so far with­out suc­cess.

The begin­ning of the im­ple­men­ta­tion phase is ex­pected to ma­te­ri­alise in the com­ing weeks through the cre­ation of an in­terim com­pany in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, which will set out clear

in­clud­ing the com­ple­tion of the tech­ni­cal and op­er­a­tional roadmap, ac­cord­ing to re­port.

The ac­com­plish­ments of this in­terim com­pany will be eval­u­ated by each bank be­fore mov­ing on to the EPI’s fi­nal cor­po­rate struc­ture.

Un­til the end of 2020, a win­dow re­mains open for Euro­pean mar­ket play­ers, in­di­vid­ual banks or bank­ing syn­di­cates, as well as third-party pay­ment ser­vice providers to ap­ply and join EPI as a founder.

While other pay­ment ser­vice providers are in­vited to join the ini­tia­tive, the EPI is ex­pected to en­ter the op­er­a­tional stage in 2022.

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