The European Central Bank is considering a new digital euro app, which would include basic payment functionalities and create a standardised approach to connecting end users to intermediaries.
Outlining the approach, ECB board member Fabio Panetta says the underlying objective behind making such an app available is to provide the market with the minimum required development, ensuring that intermediaries - including smaller ones who may not want to bear the investment costs of setting up their own payment interface - keep their roles in digital euro distribution.
At the same time, the app would respond to the preferences of certain end users who have called for an independent access channel in which basic functionalities are available, as expressed by consumer’s associations and market surveys.
"The app would ensure that no matter where you travel in the euro area, the digital euro would always be recognised and you would be able to pay with it," says Panetta. "The first releases are likely to offer contactless payments, QR codes and an easy way to pay online."
In his presentation to the the EU Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Panetta emphasised that the digital euro will be freely accessible to all and will never be programmable money, leaving the development of conditional payments and other advanced services to supervised intermediaries.
"The ECB would not set any limitations on where, when or to whom people can pay with a digital euro," he says. "That would be tantamount to a voucher. And central banks issue money, not vouchers."