The banks and other institutions backing the development of a unified payment systems for merchants and consumers across Europe have so far invested €30m in the European Payments Initiative, EPI chair Joachim Schmalzl has revealed.
Plans to set up the pan-European payments system were first revealed in November 2019 and the EPI now has the support of more than 30 banks and acquirers, including BNP Paribas, CaixaBank, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, ING, Santander and UniCredit.
“The first real-world applications — a system for electronic real-time payments between consumers — could be launched in early 2022, while a broader payments tool could follow in the second half of next year,” he added.
Commenting on the fact that card payments in Europe are predominantly processed by US companies, with as many as four in five transactions handled by Mastercard and Visa, according to lobby group Eurocommerce, Schmalzl “warned that such a dominant market share could hurt consumers and merchants — pointing to relatively high fees as well as questions over data protection”, the FT says.
“We want to offer an alternative to this oligopoly and give merchants and consumers in Europe a real choice,” Shmalzl added.
“The national solutions cannot be scaled across European borders,” he explained, referring to payment solutions such as Germany’s Girocard and France’s Carte Bancaire.
“Nobody [in Europe] on its own can compete with the US credit card giants. That will be possible if we team up.
“As a level of investment, several billions of euros will be needed. We can jointly muster the necessary resources if we team up in Europe.”
The EPI issued a call for technical partners to develop the unified payment system in February.
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