Pan-European card payments processor Eufiserv is restructuring its business in preparation for the introduction of the European Union's Single European Payments Area (Sepa) in 2008.
The aim of the Sepa initiative is to dismantle cross-border barriers and drive down costs for non-cash euro payments to the level of domestic transfers.
To become compliant with the Sepa Cards Framework, Eufiserv says its ATM card scheme will be separated from the processing activities of the company. Previously the ATM card service was packaged with Eufiserv's payments processing services, but now banks signing up to the card scheme will be able to choose their own payments processor.
Eufiserv says participating banks will need only a single licence for the whole of the Sepa region. Support for EMV will be made mandatory and a liability shift rule will be introduced to encourage early adoption, says Eufiserv.
Petter Johansen, MD, Eufiserv, says the decision to separate governance of the card scheme assures continuity of service to participating banks as well as to cardholders.
"The formal separation of the governance of the scheme underlines Eufiserv's commitment to fully exploit the company's switch processing services," he adds.
Eufiserv is a Brussels-based company owned by savings banks from twelve different countries and by the European Savings Banks Group (ESBG). Currently Eufiserv-branded cards are issued by over 600 participating banks and used by over 70 million customers. The cards are accepted at over 60,000 ATMs across Europe.
Last November the board voted to dissolve regulations limiting ownership of the firm to just savings banks and opened shareholding to all financial institutions.