SIA launches "e-Convergence", a new technology infrastructure that will permit merchants and Italian and foreign financial institutions to access MyBank, the EBA Clearing pan- European initiative allowing consumers to make online purchases paying directly from their home banking application.
The pilot project of MyBank was started up at the beginning of June and the official launch is scheduled for 2013.
On the occasion of SPIN 2012, the International Conference&Expo organized by ABI on payment systems and services, taking place at Palazzo dei Congressi in Florence on 21st and 22nd June, SIA is presenting, for the first time, the new "e-Convergence" platform and a demo of online shopping using MyBank in the food, insurance and electronic sectors.
More than ever, SIA aims to spread the use of e-payment services that are secure and easy to use, and to develop the e-commerce sector, a market which in Italy at the end of 2012 is forecast to grow by 18% with an estimated turnover of €9.5 billion compared to the 8 billion of 2011 (source: B2C Observatory Netcomm - Milan Polytechnic). By 2015, the objective of the EU Commission is to double e-commerce volumes in retail sales in Europe, currently at 3.4%.
Through "e-Convergence", SIA will make available a digital infrastructure allowing communication between online merchants and MyBank-participating banks, thus minimizing costs relating to the development and management of access applications and implementation timescales and permitting customers to make payments on Internet in a simple and secure manner (at present 23% of customers abandon transactions during the purchase phase).
A fundamental role in MyBank is played by the centralized directory, which contains the information relating to the participating banks while guaranteeing their interoperability and accessibility. The management of this directory has been entrusted to SIA by EBA CLEARING within the terms of the partnership started up in 2002 by which SIA is the technology provider for EBA CLEARING's STEP2 platform for the exchange and settlement of transactions in Euros.
In the constantly evolving sector of online payments, MyBank represents an absolute innovation, since it provides the option to order "instant credit transfers" through home banking applications to make purchases anywhere in Europe - a strategic lever that may contribute to the growth of e-commerce, as also proven by the initiative launched in the Netherlands where the domestic system iDeal, based on online credit transfers, is accepted by 90% of virtual merchants and is the payment instrument of choice among consumers.
Using MyBank will be extremely easy for the customers of virtual stores, who will have at their disposal an icon on which to click to start up the payment by selecting their bank and connecting directly to the home banking system. A virtual POS application developed by SIA and integrated with the "e-Convergence" platform will allow online merchants to accept this innovative payment method as well as the traditional ones, such as credit cards and PayPal.
Through a system called Routing Service, SIA's technology infrastructure will then forward the payment requests from the merchant's bank to the buyer's bank. A second system (Validation Service), after processing and authorizing said requests, will establish a dialogue with the home banking application of the buyer's bank.
At this point, customers need only complete the payment by authenticating themselves using the security codes provided by their bank, without entering any other personal or confidential data online (the payment details relating to the purchase will appear automatically). Following verification of the amount and the payee, the transaction is carried out by sending a credit transfer to the merchant.
Once fully deployed, this purchase method will be SEPA compliant. SEPA is the Single Euro Payments Area created to allow citizens, businesses, public administration bodies and other financial operators to make and receive payments in a harmonized manner, using common payment instruments (credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards) smoothly and safely, as they would do at domestic level.
Alongside the start up of the new "e-Convergence" platform, SIA is already studying the possible evolutions of the new service in order to make it accessible using other devices, such as smart phones and tablets, and in order to add new functionalities. In fact, using MyBank also the direct debiting of utility bills on users' current accounts could become significantly easier and more immediate. It would take a few simple steps to arrange, in real time and without the need to visit the bank in person, the direct debit payment of utility bills from the users' own home banking application.
"With the launch of this technology infrastructure supporting MyBank, we continue in our path of innovation aimed at offering state-of-the-art payment instruments in Europe - commented Nicola Cordone, Director Financial Institutions Division and Deputy Managing Director SIA - Our proven experience in electronic payments guarantees maximum security levels in the processing of transactions, and can certainly contribute to increasing e-commerce volumes".
"We welcome SIA's initiative to support future MyBank participants in their communication with each other" said John Broxis, Director, EBA CLEARING. "Infrastructure solutions such as 'e-Convergence' will make it easier for e-merchants and financial institutions to join MyBank. The timely launch of SIA's new solution at SPIN will allow pilot participants to fully test its routing and validation processes as part of our first testing window; this will help them prepare for the go-live of MyBank in March 2013."