A group of 16 major European banks from five countries (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain) paved the way for the future launch of the European Payments Initiative (EPI).
The ambition of EPI is to create a unified pan-European payment solution leveraging Instant Payments/SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst), offering a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments, in other words, a competitor to Visa and Mastercard dominance in Europe.
The solution aims to become a new standard means of payment for European consumers and merchants in all types of transactions including in-store, online, cash withdrawal and “peer-to-peer” in addition to existing international payment scheme solutions.
A pan-European payment solution for European merchants and consumers
EPI’s objective is to offer a digital payment solution that can be used anywhere in Europe and to supersede the fragmented landscape that currently still exists. In doing so, EPI founders are responding to merchant and consumer communities that have been calling for payment initiatives to take a more pan-European approach.
More than 50% of retail payment transactions in Europe are still done by cash today. The EPI solution will bring tangible benefits to European merchants, by offering them a seamless, competitive and unified payment solution for the whole of Europe that is also available to all European consumers.
Strengthening the Single Market and the European digital agenda
In addition, the creation of EPI will support the implementation of the political agenda for both European public institutions and national authorities, in particular through the creation of a truly European solution in the fields of payments, banking and technology.
Existing digital payment solutions are fragmented in Europe and European citizens are still unable to pay digitally everywhere. Moreover, the Covid-19 crisis has underlined the need for a unified European digital payment solution. In this sense, EPI also aims to align the European payments ecosystem of banks, merchants and acquirers, payment services providers, thereby contributing to strengthening of the Single Market and the European digital agenda.
The beginning of the implementation phase is expected to materialise in the coming weeks through the creation of an interim company in Brussels, which will set out clear deliverables including the completion of the technical and operational roadmap and initiating the implementation work to achieve a best-in-class user experience. The accomplishments of this Interim Company will be evaluated by each bank before moving on to the EPI’s final corporate structure.
The European Payments Initiative (EPI) aims to create a unified pan-European payment solution. Its founding members to date are: BBVA, BNP Paribas, Groupe BPCE, CaixaBank, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, Deutsche Bank, Deutcher Sparkassen- und Giroverband, DZ BANK Group, ING, KBC Group, La Banque Postale, Banco Santander, Société Générale, UniCredit
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