Topics of major relevance for the European Payments Council () were discussed during the fourth meeting of the Euro Retail Payments Board (), which took place in late November 2015. The is a high-level body chaired by the European Central Bank, bringing together the supply and the demand side of the industry to address strategic retail payments issues. Javier Santamaría, Chair of the , attended the last meeting. In this blog, he highlights the most significant issues considered during the meeting, and the next steps that the will accomplish to support the ’s objectives.
The instant credit transfer scheme in euro is on its way to becoming a reality
The leading outcome of the meeting for the is the approval of the proposal submitted by the for the design of a pan-European instant credit transfer scheme (dubbed Inst scheme).
Currently, credit transfers can take up to one business day. While several instant payment solutions exist in Europe, there is no interoperable pan-European instant credit transfer scheme. To avoid a fragmentation of solutions, which would be harmful to the harmonisation of payments in the Single Euro Payments Area (), the invited the to create a pan-European instant credit transfer scheme.
The proposal covers the general features of the future Inst scheme, which will be optional and based on the credit transfer payment instrument, for transactions in euro in all countries. To make it as cost-efficient as possible for the scheme participants, it will have, where feasible, the same foundations as the existing Credit Transfer scheme.
The invited the to develop the Rulebook (the technical and business rules governing the scheme) by the target date of November 2016. It would enter into force one year later.
In parallel, the will address several pending issues (such as the maximum number of seconds needed to process an Inst transaction, and the maximum amount in euro per Inst transaction), in close dialogue with the payment stakeholders.
Mobile and card-based contactless proximity payments are brought to the next level
Besides instant payments, mobile and card-based contactless proximity payments are another area of focus for the . Several solutions, with different maturity levels and technologies, currently co-exist in .
The various recommendations of the working group on mobile and card-based contactless proximity payments were approved during the last meeting. The members of the endorsed the vision of “developing over time, across Europe, a secure, convenient, consistent, efficient and trusted payment experience for customers (consumers and merchants), for all retail transactions at the point of interaction (POI), based on commonly accepted and standardised contactless and other proximity payment technologies.”
Card schemes, mobile telecom operators, mobile payment providers, as well as mobile device manufacturers and the European Commission, were among the addressees of specific recommendations to make this vision a reality. For instance, standardisation and regulatory aspects of contactless proximity payments were identified as key issues. In this context, the Cards Stakeholders Group, a multi-stakeholder body gathering retailers, vendors, processors, card schemes, and the , was requested to work on common specifications, requirements and implementation guidelines for contactless payments in order to foster harmonisation and a more uniform user experience.
A step-by-step approach to harmonise electronic invoicing solutions related to retail payments
The last major topic addressed by the during its November meeting is related to the development of e-invoicing, entailed by the digitalisation of businesses. It has the potential for security improvements and efficiency gains in the supply chain including payments. It will indeed no longer be necessary to manually type or copy and paste the data required for completing a payment order. However, electronic invoice and bill presentment and payment (EIPP/EBPP) solutions are, for the moment, still at an early and not harmonised stage. This topic is also to be seen in the light of the plans of the European Commission for e-invoicing to become the predominant method of invoicing by 2020 in Europe, as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy.
To contribute to the goal of harmonising EIPP/EBPP across , the set up a working group. At the last meeting, it was decided to take a step-by-step approach. This working group will prepare a report by November 2016 “reviewing the landscape and analysing the reasons why previous [harmonisation] attempts have failed and the barriers to the take-up and integration of such solutions in Europe.”
In conclusion, the is determined to play its part in actively following up on the recommendations agreed upon at the last meeting, with a particular focus on the development of an Inst scheme.
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