SEPA for Mobile

SEPA for Mobile


The European Payments Council (EPC), working together with all stakeholders active in the mobile payments ecosystem, is willing to contribute to the development of a reliable and secure ecosystem for the initiation and receipt of Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) payments by mobile phone. The intention is to help establishing an integrated market, which could enable all payers and payees to make and receive mobile payments (m-payments) across SEPA, and creating a secure environment for the multiple stakeholders active in the field.

EPC white paper on mobile payments

SEPA is still in its early days regarding the harmonisation of mobile payment solutions. To contribute to such harmonisation , the EPC published a White paper on mobile payments. It aims to inform stakeholders including Payment Service Providers, mobile network operators and customers about the EPC’s commitment to an integrated market for mobile payments in SEPA. It further endeavours to offer a better insight into the potential of the mobile channel to build on SEPA payment instruments. The white paper includes information on cutting-edge areas and players in mobile payments.

It is regularly updated to keep pace with the evolution of mobile technologies. In line with its commitment to transparency, the EPC submits the updates to the white paper for a public consultation before final publication. The latest version (5.0) was published in March 2017.

In this new edition the EPC has extended the scope of the document to include new types of mobile proximity payments while addressing also the new stakeholders and technologies that entered the mobile ecosystem since its previous publication in 2012. The white paper provides an analysis of how mobile ecosystems could evolve and interact to support SEPA card payments and SEPA credit transfers. It further incorporates new use cases based on the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer scheme while it has also been aligned with the new version 8.0 of the SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume.

 EPC overview of mobile payments initiatives

Following publication of the first edition in June 2014, in December 2014 the EPC published the second and updated edition of the document ‘EPC Overview on Mobile Payments Initiatives’ (see links below). This document describes various existing and new initiatives on m-payments and aims to create awareness on the latest developments, based on the following sources:

  • Contributions by EPC members on community initiatives.

  • Initiatives reported in various newsfeeds.

It contains sections highlighting underlying payment instruments, mobile wallet initiatives, and developments on mobile points of sale (mPOS), all of which have newly appeared on the market over the past year. The first edition of the report included initiatives launched between November 2013 and May 2014 within SEPA and outside. The second edition features, in addition, initiatives launched between June and October 2014.

The collection of the initiatives is done on a best-effort basis and is not exhaustive. The inclusion of any initiative into the document does not imply that EPC in any form endorses, supports, or recommends such initiative.

EPC white paper on mobile wallet payments

With mobile devices having achieved near full market penetration and increasingly rich functionality they are an ideal channel for SEPA payment instruments. Creating ease, convenience and trust for end-customers (payers/consumers and beneficiaries/merchants) is regarded as critical for the further development of m-payments. Since a mobile wallet may be considered a key tool to address these challenges, the EPC has decided to devote a white paper to this concept in relation to m-payments. This document outlines among other things, how trust in, (and availability of), a wide range of easy to use services offered with mobile wallets may be seen as a facilitator for m-payments.

In July 2013 the EPC issued a first draft of the white paper on mobile wallet payments to seek comments from all interested parties and received feedback from 18 different stakeholders. Subsequent to careful analysis of the contributions received, the EPC published a final version of the white paper in January 2014 (see links below).

The white paper endeavours to:

  • Inform stakeholders about the EPC’s commitment to mobile payments (m-payments) in SEPA and the potential of the mobile channel to build on SEPA payment instruments. (Note that the concepts described in the white paper may also be applied to non SEPA areas.)

  • Inform on the new convenient, homogenous and seamless services access and new business opportunities enabled by the use of a mobile wallet to perform m-payment transactions.

  • Provide examples of the usage of a mobile wallet for m-payments.

  • Outline the mobile wallet ecosystem and the different existing models for mobile wallets.

The white paper has been written in a non-technical style to inform payment service providers, their customers and all the stakeholders involved in the payments value chain about the EPC's views on the usage of mobile wallets as an enabler for m-payments in SEPA.

The EPC supports the development of contactless payments

Eager to develop innovative methods of card payments, the EPC contributed to the Euro Retail Payments Board’s (ERPB) report on mobile and card-based proximity payments, published at the end of 2015. It carefully studied the European landscape of contactless payments, and concluded that the market is fragmented in terms of maturity in the adoption of contactless payment solutions, and the implementation of the technical standards. In order to reach harmonised contactless proximity payments and a more uniform customer experience in Europe, whilst keeping security front of mind, the ERPB produced ten recommendations. One of them is to “enhance society awareness on contactless payments”. For this purpose, a consumer leaflet was developed in 2016, with the support of the European Central Bank, the EPC, the consumer organisation, BEUC (liaising with AGE Platform Europe) and the retailers association, EuroCommerce. It explores the benefits of contactless payments, explains how they work, and addresses some concerns that the general public might have about their security. 

The implementation of the ERPB recommendations should enable a broader take-up of contactless payments in Europe, which in turn will reduce the use of less cost-effective payment instruments, such as cash and cheques.

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