A Brussels-based company that aims to link national debit card systems to process cross-border transactions across Europe has been established by The Euro Alliance of Payment Schemes (EAPS), a consortium of six of the region's largest national operators.
The EAPS alliance was established last year to explore ways of linking existing national debit card schemes into a pan-European network following the introduction of the single euro payment area (Sepa) in 2008.
Earlier this year the group disclosed plans to establish a Brussels-based company that would oversee the establishment of the cross-border card network.
The founding members of EAPS are CO.GE.BAN - which operates Italian card schemes PagoBancomat and Bancomat - Spain's EURO 6000, Portugal's Multibanco, The UK's Link Interchange Network, European card payment processor Eufiserv and EPCS European Payment Card Solution which manages Germany's 'electronic cash scheme' and ATM network operator Deutsches Geldautomatensystem.
Commenting on the launch, Oliver Hommel, EAPS coordinator, says: "With the founding of EAPS, we've achieved a milestone for a single European card payment area. The EAPS will develop into a new pan-European card payment scheme based on the efficient national schemes and their infrastructures."
Initial pilot transactions between the consortium partners have already been completed and roll out in the countries of the participating EAPS partners will begin on 1st January 2008.
The group says the programme is open to other payment schemes operating in the region. Banks will be able to join the scheme later next year.