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Interoperable P2P mobile payments in Europe

Splitting a bill with friends at a restaurant, paying back half of a household bill to your partner, urgently sending money to your child studying in another European country…These are just some of the examples of the convenient uses of P2P mobile payments.

P2P mobile payments, which are transactions on a mobile device between two individuals, are a topic of

Interoperable P2P mobile payments in Europe

Interoperable P2P mobile payments in Europe

growing interest in the financial and telecoms industries. Whilst more than fifty solutions currently co-exist in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), there is no pan-European interoperability between these solutions – Dariusz Mazurkiewicz, Vice-President at Polski Standard Platności (Polish Payments Standard*) and EPC facilitator of the workshop, shares with us his main takeaways – in an interview first published in the EPC Newsletter..

To contribute to the cooperation of existing and future P2P mobile payment solutions, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) invited the European Payments Council (EPC) to facilitate the dialogue among them.

To that end, the EPC organised a stakeholders workshop on P2P mobile payments, which took place in January 2016. So what are the lessons learnt from this workshop, and what are the next steps?

1)  Dariusz, how did the workshop go? What was its main focus?

It was great to see that the workshop attracted around 80 participants from all parts of Europe and from a wide variety of backgrounds and job roles, including banking and non-banking payment service providers, telecoms operators, P2P mobile payment solution providers, software developers, and consultants. The EPC’s objective was to organise an open and transparent workshop in which all stakeholders who could demonstrate a relevant interest in P2P mobile payments could participate.

The diversity of backgrounds of the participants was one of the greatest assets of the workshop, yet it also turned out to be a challenge. We needed to ensure that we all had a basic common understanding of the objectives we wanted to pursue.

We built the workshop around the recommendations of the ERPB Working Group on P2P mobile payments. Among other topics, we discussed:

  1. The development of a set of rules and standards (framework) related to joining and using pan-European mobile payment services;
  2. The set-up of a governance structure, most notably responsible for defining, publishing and maintaining the framework;
  3. The implementation of a standardised proxy lookup (SPL) service which allows P2P mobile payment data (proxy and IBAN) to be exchanged among P2P mobile payment solutions on a pan-European level.

2)   Did the workshop yield any specific results? What is the next step?

I am happy to say that the participants of the workshop agreed on the establishment of a steering committee. It will be the first step towards the creation of a Forum, which will focus on pan-European interoperability in the field of P2P mobile payments, and in particular on the set-up of a pan-European SPL service. This steering committee will also need to make various governance related decisions with regard to this Forum. For example, should the Forum be informal or formal? What will the eligibility criteria to join it be? Who will fund the Forum? etc. These are some of the questions the steering committee will work on, as well as some open issues identified during the workshop. The steering committee is likely to meet for the first time this spring, and will provide a first status report at the ERPB meeting in June 2016.

3)  More generally, what would the pan-European interoperability of P2P mobile payment solutions bring to the European consumer? Why is it important for Europe to achieve this interoperability?

The harmonisation of all types of payment within SEPA ensures a consistent user experience, anywhere in the area. Achieving pan-European interoperability of P2P mobile payment solutions will ensure that any person (payer) in Europe will be able to make a payment in euro with a mobile device, in a secure and simple way, to any other person (payee) in Europe regardless of the service(s) the payer or payee is registered to. Moreover, following the implementation of the SEPA Credit Transfer Instant payments scheme, these types of payments could soon also be executed instantly on a pan-European level. Interoperability of P2P mobile payment solutions would furthermore contribute to the harmonisation of mobile payments, which is one of the regulators’ areas of focus, in order to support the broader objective of making the euro a single and fully operational currency, in any of our day-to-day payment situations.

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* Polski Standard Platności is a company formed by the six biggest Polish banks: Alior Bank, Bank Millennium, Bank Zachodni WBK, mBank, ING Bank and PKO Bank Polski, providing their customers with an intuitive mobile payments service – BLIK. BLIK enables customers to make eCommerce and retail payments, withdraw cash from ATMs and make interbank P2P instant transfers to other customers using mobile banking apps. The company runs a Polish mobile payments scheme open to all banking applications of participating banks.

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