Microsoft teams with Unisys on European payments platform

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft is working with Unisys to deliver a common European platform to help financial institutions better manage cross-border payments operations.

Based on Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004, EBA Link is currently implemented at a number of financial institutions in Poland and Hungary. The solution grew from work done by Interpay Nederland, a top-three European payment processor located in the Netherlands, to clear high-volume, low-value payments.

It provides a fast and cost-effective service for cross-border payments.
The move to a pan-European payments system has been outlined by the European Payments Council (EPC) to encourage more efficient, faster and easier payments processing on the continent. Through EBA Link, Unisys will leverage the latest Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 and Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for Swift, to help provide a cost-effective, easy-to-maintain and flexible solution for financial institutions connecting to EBA’s clearing and settlement systems.

The solution provides payment services via Step2 and is currently the only pan-European automated clearing house (PE-ACH)-compliant service as defined by the EPC. It can address individual routing requirements that enable smooth migration to a single European payment area (Sepa) and provides highly flexible and scalable connectivity to Step2.

"Our strategy is directed to maintain and further expand our solid customer position, and continue to serve our customers with innovative processing services," says Fred Bär, executive vice president of marketing and sales at Interpay. "By allowing such leading companies as Unisys and Microsoft to build on our internally developed solution, we expect a faster spread of best-practice processes, which will help banks and clearinghouses to reduce cost, innovate their cross-border payments processes and, ultimately, retain leading positions in the consolidating payments market."

"We encourage banks to take an enterprise-wide view of payments to more strategically manage their operations across their organisations," says Rein Geerdes, a director in European payments practice at Unisys. "The drive for a common European payment system only further underscores this need, and Unisys EBA Link provides a quick and easy way to move toward this goal. Microsoft BizTalk Server and BizTalk Accelerator for Swift allow us to take advantage of the built-in messaging capabilities and standards as both ease SwiftNet connectivity and support SwiftNet standards."

"Unisys has committed to the Windows platform since the very beginning and has always supported our efforts for responding to Automated Clearing House opportunities throughout Europe," says Sheida Hadji-Ashrafi, industry manager of payments solutions at Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). "Initiatives such as EBA Link encourage PE-ACH integration and Step2 connectivity, enabling financial institutions to take full advantage of existing SwiftNet connectivity and standards."

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