German bank WestLB is partnering with Internet payments firm ClickandBuy to provide direct debit payment processing services in support of the introduction of the single euro payments area (Sepa) in 2008.
The companies say they will conduct a Europe-wide pilot project of the service, which will "simplify European payments settlement at an early stage".
Steffen Kowalski, head of transaction services at WestLB and a member of the European Payments Council, says: "ClickandBuy operates in all European countries. For each country the company has to take into account a wide range of technical requirements and the legal framework, which is expensive and ties up resources. We will change this, and we will jointly introduce the new payment formats."
Norbert Stangl, CEO and founder of ClickandBuy says the WestLB alliance will enable the payments firm to "expand its position as a European e-bank" and will significantly reduce administrative costs for merchants.
Earlier this year Gerard Hartsink, chair of the European Payments Council (EPC), warned that Europe's banks will miss the first Sepa deadline for direct debits because of delays in passing the new Payment Services Directive (PSD).