Disparities in the implementation of the European Payments Services Directive (PSD) across EU borders may lead to a reinforcement of national payments networks and undermine the push for a single euro payments area (Sepa), says a new report from IT services firm Logica.
The research, which surveyed 22 banks, suggests that there is a need for "pan-European coordination" to ensure a consistent roll-out of the PSD by the November 2009 deadline and to support the continual implementation of Sepa.
Simon Bailey, director of payments, Logica, says the research indicates that serious PSD disparities across countries could risk reinforcing national payments markets.
"A combination of variations in PSD implementation and national community-defined Additional Optional Services (AOS) for Sepa could ultimately undermine the development of a single payments market - the opposite of the original Sepa vision," says Bailey.
"Each country can choose between a 'mini-PSD' (including all opt-outs) and a 'maxi-PSD' (with no opt-outs). This creates national variations in payments services and does not support pan-European consistency. It also makes planning within banks complex and subject to change," he adds.
The survey, which was supported by the IBOS Association, found that all surveyed banks had planned PSD programmes and identified a primary department responsible for assessing the impact and implementation of PSD. Respondents named the National Banking Association or central bank as the national body behind PSD transposition.
However less than a third of the banks questioned know exactly when the directive will be transposed into national law. As a result over 75% of respondents will not commence implementation work to support PSD until 2009 because the substance of the local law transposition of PSD will not be known earlier.
"Given the complexity of the payments products currently offered across geographies that were identified by respondents, this may not be sufficient to enable banks to exploit these necessary changes for commercial benefit," says Logica.
Slava Gnevko, senior payments manager, Logica, says banks looking to benefit from PSD cannot afford to wait until next year to begin implementation: "If compliance is going to be achieved, then work has to begin now based on what we already know."
In separate news Logica has disclosed plans to cut 1300 jobs globally as part of a £110 million restructuring programme that has been disclosed by new chief executive Andy Green.
Around 500 of jobs affected will be cut from Logica's UK operations under the restructuring, which will see the firm shift work to near and offshore centres. The firm says it plans to double the number of offshore staff to 8000 by the end of 2009.
The vendor says the restructuring is expected to deliver cost savings of around £80 million pounds per year from 2010.