The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced the creation of a new Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) to oversee the integration of the bloc's retail payments market in a post-Sepa environment.
The new entity replaces the Sepa Council and will be composed of seven representatives from the demand side - such as consumers, retailers and corporations - and seven from the supply side - banks and payment and e-money institutions. They will be joined by five representatives from the euro area national central banks and one from the non-euro area EU national central banks.
The Sepa Council was established in the spring of 2010 for an initial period of three years following strong criticism of the Sepa governance structure and the lack of consultation with end-users. But industry, especially small and medium businesses and retailers as well as large corporates, have lobbied for more extensive involvement.
The ERPB's work will consist mainly of identifying strategic issues and work priorities, including business practices, requirements and standards, and ensuring they are addressed. Particular attention will be paid to cross-border integration of the payments card market, and fostering innovation across the region.
It starts its work as the payments sector prepares for the deadline for full migration to Sepa credit transfers and Sepa direct debits in the euro area.
"Retail payments are the backbone of the real economy," says Benoît Coeuré, member of the ECB's Executive Board. "The integration of the European retail payments market is a natural consequence of the monetary union. It facilitates everyday life for European citizens and also trade, financial integration and market competitiveness in the European Union."