Immediate payments 'next frontier' for European integration - ECB

Immediate payments 'next frontier' for European integration - ECB

With progress towards a single euro payments area well in train, the European Central Bank has identified instant payments with immediate availability of funds as the industry's next frontier for harmonisation and cross-border collaboration.

In its second meeting, on 1 December 2014, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), a multi-stakeholder group chaired by the European Central Bank (ECB), decided to step up work on the topics of instant payments in euro, and person-to-person mobile payments and contactless payments.

Taking stock of the migration to the Sepa, the ERPB also published a set of recommendations to address some remaining issues in the credit transfer and direct debit schemes, for instance with the move to Iban only and the harmonisation of payment standards between banks and customers.

In the area of instant payments, like the UK's Faster Payments scheme and Denmark's recently inaugurated RealTime24/7 system, the ERPB is concerned that the emergence of new domestic platforms might end up creating a fragmented market in Europe for instant payments, similar to what existed in regular payments in the past.

Yves Mersch, member of the ECB's Executive Board and chair of the ERPB, comments: "Solutions for instant payments should avoid the 'silo' mentality of closed systems that don't communicate with each other, and take advantage of the harmonisation and integration already achieved with the SEPA project."

The development of person-to-person mobile payments in euro may depend significantly on the availability of instant clearing services, he noted.

Taking into account emerging national solutions, the members of the ERPB agreed on the need for at least one pan-European instant payment service for euro open to any payment service provider in the EU and called on the banking industry to make an assessment of the issues to achieving such a scheme for presentation to the Board in June 2015. In so doing, the banks would be expected to consult with demand side with the active involvement of the European Payments Council as a potential scheme developer.

The ERPB in May annnounced plans to set up two working groups to focus on P2P mobile payments in euro and card and mobile-based contactless payments across the euro zone. The Board says the P2P group is set to report back with its findings in June 2015, while the contactless council will deliver its recommendations in November 2015.

Comments: (2)

Tim Brew
Tim Brew - YourCMO - London 09 December, 2014, 10:271 like 1 like

Looks like the ECB and the ERPB are slowly catching on!  The big question is - will it take as long as SEPA to implement?  If it does, the rest of the world will have moved on again by then!  That is why so many countries are implementing their own solutions.

The key problem is always getting so many different views and countries to agree to any new pan European standard.  Perhaps it would be best to just pick an off the shelf existing solution and just go for it.  But, I am pretty sure that they will only be able to get consensus to go out there and recreate another new wheel! Go on - be brave, the outcome would be much better!

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 March, 2015, 12:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi out there. Just recently came accross ERPB's Immediate Payments Idea. Anyone having thoughts about whether this (depending on, again, getting another ergulatory driven) "initiative" will renmain in the P2P market segment. Just considering, that the "P"'s might be the treasurers of the corporates out there and that once services are available throughout Europe for Retailers, they will for sure have a demand in Corporate sectors as well... And...who will need SEPA after Immediate Payment works?