The European Payments Council (EPC), representing payment service providers, and the Cards Stakeholders Group (CSG), a multi-stakeholder body gathering retailers, vendors, processors, card schemes and the EPC, today published version 7.1 of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Cards Standardisation Volume (the Volume).
The Volume is a key document for the card industry, aimed at achieving cards standardisation, interoperability, and security in Europe. For the first time, this latest version includes functional and security requirements applicable to card-not-present transactions, as well as a cards processing framework. In addition, an analysis has been performed to ensure that the Volume requirements do not conflict with the recent European Regulation on cards interchange fees. All stakeholders active in the SEPA cards domain are encouraged to roll out services and products in line with the requirements of the Volume, by December 2018.
In 2009, in order to create a better, safer, more cost efficient and functionally richer card services environment, the EPC and CSG created the Volume which is regularly updated to ensure it is at the forefront of cards technology and regulation.
This latest version of the Volume includes the following new elements:
- Functional and security requirements applicable to card-not-present (also referred to as ‘remote’) payments. Initiated in the context of electronic and mobile commerce, by mail and telephone order, remote payments are gaining momentum: European e-commerce turnover indeed grew by 14 percent in 20141. Considering this major development, remote payments are for the first time covered in the Volume.
- A cards processing framework, which defines business principles and requirements for market access and participation in card payment processing services (it covers authorisation, clearing and settlement processes). The main objective of this framework, which was created following a suggestion by the European Central Bank, is to facilitate an open and transparent market.
- Additional requirements and modifications reflecting the CSG’s analysis of the impact of certain provisions of the 2015 European Regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions entering into force in June 2016.
In line with the EPC and CSG’s commitment to stakeholders’ involvement, this release of the Volume was subjected to a public consultation earlier in 2015.
Though the conformance with the Volume is not mandatory (neither the EPC nor the CSG having regulation and enforcement powers), it is an essential piece of the cards industry self-regulation. All interested parties active in the card industry are expected to get ready for market implementation of version 7.1 of the Volume by December 2018. Requirements published in the previous Volume, 7.0 version, applicable to card-present transactions, and the related implementation timeline, remain unchanged.
Claude Brun, Chair of the EPC Cards Working Group and CSG Co-Chair, comments: "With the publication of version 7.1 of the Volume, the EPC and CSG deliver a new basis for card standardisation in Europe on card-not-present and a processing framework, fully in line with the new European regulation on cards interchange fees. It is now time for implementation of the agreed principles, first by January 2017 for the card-present transactions, and by December 2018 for the card-not-present transactions. Furthermore, the CSG will continue in the future to work closely with the Euro Retail Payments Board.”