Now that SEPA direct debits and credit transfers are firmly established in Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) is aiming to speed up SEPA for cards. In a new report, the ECB says that attention must now be focused on the harmonisation of cards.
In 2012 there were around 40 billion card payments in the EU, compared to 26 million
credit transfers and 23 billion direct debits. There is significant potential for growth in card usage, demonstrated by wide discrepancies between countries: the average Swedish consumer makes 230 card payments per year, whereas Bulgarian, Romanian and Greek consumers make less than 10.
SEPA for cards will aim to harmonise the principles, business practices and rules, as well as the technical standards of card payments, aided by proposed regulation on interchange fees and the planned directive on payment services in the internal market.