Pan-European payment processer Equens has won a five year deal to provide debit card processing services to Dutch banking group ABN Amro in support of the introduction of the single euro payments area (Sepa) in 2008.
Equens was created last year by the merger of Dutch payments body Interpay and Germany's Transaktionsinstitut and was established in response to Sepa, which aims to dismantle cross-border barriers and drive down costs for non-cash euro payments to the level of domestic transfers.
The firm says ABN Amro is the first bank to sign up to its Sepa card payment services. Ben Haasdijk, chairman of the board of directors, Equens says the contract "is of great strategic importance".
News of the deal comes just weeks after Gerard Hartsink, chair of the European Payments Council (EPC) warned that European banks will miss the first Sepa deadline for direct debits because of delays in passing a new Payment Services Directive (PSD).
Hartsink - who is senior EVP of European Union affairs and market infrastructures at ABN Amro - said existing national laws will work for cards and credit transfers but not for direct debits.
The ABN Amro deal also follows Equen's announcement earlier this week that it was shedding 400 full time jobs under a three year cost cutting plan.