Seven mobile payment firms covering more than 25 million registered users are clubbing together to form the European Mobile Payment Systems Association (EMPSA) which its members say will foster collaboration and facilitate international payments.
The association will be based in Zurich and its members cover nine European countries - Belgium, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portuga, Switzerland and Sweden, more than one million merchant acceptance points and 350 associated banks.
It wil be chaired by Søren Mose, chairman of the board of directors of Swiss firm TWINT and vice-chaired by Anna-Lena Wretman, CEO of Sweden's Swish with TWINT deputy CEO and CFO Anton Stadelmann assuming the role of secretary general.
"With this cross-border cooperation we want to meet the wish of our users to be able to use their local mobile payment system internationally", said Mose.
The primary aim of the group is to enable more cross-border interoperability for different, domestically focused m-payment systems and it has set up a specific working group to address the issue, wchih will be co-chaired by Bjørn Skjelbred from Norway-based VIPPS and Christian Pirkner of Germany's Bluecode.
"We firmly believe that collaboration between successful domestic systems can make the life of the consumer and the merchant much easier. Our goal is that consumers use their preferred, reliable local app to pay abroad. We are confident that working together under the umbrella of the association will promote interoperability of mobile payment solutions and will build a true European alternative, so important for the European economy", said Nathalie Vandepeute from Belgian provider Bancontact Payconiq Company.
"MPSA is the key initiative for Europe to create its own standards and to build a competitive interoperable European framework to win back lost terrain in the payments space," added Bluecode's Pirkner.
The imperative to encourage more interoperability has become more urgent given the plans for big tech firms to develop their own payment systems and currencies, such as Facebook's Libra project.