Changing the reality of payments: Standardised Proxy Lookup service

Changing the reality of payments: Standardised Proxy Lookup service

09 May 18

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Instant payment solutions like the recently launched Instant Credit Transfer scheme ( ) are emerging around Europe. Although the big drivers include mobile person-to-person ( ) payments, most of the existing solutions are domestic and do not allow cross-border payments. The Mobile Proxy Forum ( ) seeks to help solve this problem and create interoperability between existing services by setting up a Standardised Proxy Lookup ( ) service. It will enable a domestic solution in one country to inquire about a proxy and its related payment identifier even when it’s registered with another solution from a different European country. We asked the ’s chair, John Maynard, to shed some light on the service and recent developments.

Q. How would you describe the ?

The will allow the exchange of the data necessary to initiate mobile payments between proxy-based mobile payment solutions on a pan-European level. In other words, payments made via mobile phone will be available not only at national but also at cross-border level. The will offer solutions that are interoperable and be operational starting from November 2018.

Initially, the focus is on using mobile phone numbers as an intermediary for an IBAN, but the also has ambitions to support additional proxy types and account identifiers in the future. 

Q. How was the idea of creating born?

The roots of the come from the Euro Retail Payments Board ( *) which endorsed in June 2015 the vision of allowing any person to initiate a pan-European mobile payment safely and securely by using a simple method involving information that the counterparty is prepared to share in order to make a payment. In particular, the believed that a harmonised process should be created to allow mobile payment data (e.g. mobile phone numbers or email addresses and IBANs) to be exchanged between local solutions across borders. The was therefore created in March 2016. It defined rules for operating, joining and participating in the service. Recently, following a Request for Proposal and selection process, the selected equensWorldline as its preferred service provider based on the recommendations provided by the Market Implementation Working Group (MIWG), subject to contract.

Q. The seeks to create interoperability between the existing domestic solutions by creating an . Could you elaborate on the benefits across Europe?

Initially, mobile solutions services were not intended to provide for cross-border interoperability of services, assuming one registry provider per country.

The aim of the service is to enable interoperability between both multi-national services and competing domestic registry providers. For European Citizens who are travelling to other countries within the Eurozone, it means they will be able to use mobile banking services to pay for things quickly and simply, without needing to exchange bank account details.

Q. How is the expected to evolve over the coming years?

A recent European Central Bank (ECB) publication** shows that, when given the choice, a significant proportion of eurozone consumers (forty-three percent) say they would prefer to pay by non-cash methods rather than in cash (thirty-two percent; twenty-five percent had no preferred method of payment). Based on related ECB data, about fifty-six million potential cross-border non-POS ( ) non-cash transactions in the eurozone per year have been identified. This would be instances like, for example, paying back half of a restaurant bill to a friend visiting from another European country.
The annual volume of cross-border transactions supported by the is forecast to grow progressively to twenty million over the next five years. This volume could be significantly increased if person-to-business (P2B) services were added. 
New services using an email address as a proxy, for example, could also be considered in the future evolution of .
*The Euro Retail Payments Board is a high-level body chaired by the European Central Bank, bringing together the supply and demand sides of the industry to address strategic retail payments issues.
**Occasional Paper Series: The use of cash by households in the euro area

Infographic: How the SPL service works

(Click to enlarge and download) 


The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the European Payments Council.

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