The European Payments Council (EPC) wants the continent's 400,000 ATMs to all use the same size cash cassettes, claiming standardisation will bring massive cost savings.
The EPC is heavily committed to shifting Europe away from cash towards electronic payments, notably through Sepa but concedes paper money is likely to dominate for the next few years.
However, cash is expensive - in 2008 the total cost of accepting, distributing, managing, handling, processing and recycling it was EUR84 billion euros; equivalent to 0.6 per cent of Europe's gross domestic product or EUR130 per person.
To help bring down these costs, the EPC wants to standardise the size of ATM cassettes to make storage in transit and at centres more efficient, reducing the number of trips cash in transit firms have to make.
The move would also make it easier to attach Intelligent Banknote Neutralisation Systems (IBNS's) which stain notes in the event of robberies. Currently, the variety in cassette size results in a lack of interoperability among these systems and requires extra training for staff, says the EPC.
Preliminary discussions on the plan have already been held with ATM manufacturers, IBNS developers and cash in transit firms and the EPC says it now intends to come up with specific proposals.
Separately, the EPC has taken another pot shot at the European Commission over Sepa, arguing that inconsistencies between the EC's policies on market integration on one hand and competition on the other are harming progress on cards and online payments.