Prospects for European cross-border purse interoperability have moved closer following the commitment of French bank umbrella payments body Groupement des Cartes Bancaires, and Belgium's Proton World to join Cepsco, the organisation formed to manage the development of the Common Electronic Purse Specifications (Ceps). The specifications provide for the interoperability of electronic purse schemes worldwide.
The two organisations join the existing Cepsco members drawn from national schemes in Spain and Germany and card organisations Europay and Visa.
"In order to achieve widespread adoption of electronic purse programs, we need to move toward systems that are highly interoperable," says Yves Randoux, CEO of Groupement des Cartes Bancaires.
The formation of Cepsco was announced in October 1999. It is responsible for managing and licensing the specifications, determining certification requirements, establishing a Ceps approval authority, promoting Ceps as a worldwide open electronic purse standard, and establishing working groups to integrate enhancements.
Since the specifications were made publicly available in March 1999, more than 300 requests have been logged for further information. The first implementation of CEPS, planned for early 2001, is likely to be in Europe where the introduction of the euro has created added impetus to agree on a common specification.