Three of Europe's national bank-owned payment networks - Banksys of Belgium, Interpay of the Netherlands and Italy's Società per i Servizi (SSB) - have pooled their resources to create a new pan-European card processing utility, Sinsys.
The joint-venture - the first of its kind – represents an important consolidation in the European electronic fund transfer market, as national and international processors look beyond their borders for greater cost-efficiencies following the introduction of the euro.
The partners say Sinsys will build on economies of scale combining volumes, experience and know-how for the processing of international debit and credit card transactions. Current annual volumes amount to 800 million transactions for 18 million cards and 500,000 merchants. These figures are expected to rise to approximately 1.5 billion transactions for 30 million cards and 800,000 merchants by 2007.
Headquartered in Brussels, Banksys and Interpay each hold a 24.5% interest in Sinsys with SSB holding a majority 51% stake. The three shareholders says membership will be opened to other interbank organisations "at a later stage".
While processing of international debit and credit transactions will be subcontracted to the SSB data center in Milan, software development teams from each of the shareholders will be integrated and placed into three competence centers in Brussels, Milan, and Utrecht.
The aim is to create a single lower-cost, streamlined platform, capable of delivering tailor-made solutions to clients and future-proofed in readiness for developments in cross-border mobile and Internet-based payments.