EPC Plenary Meeting Update

EPC Plenary Meeting Update

Main decisions taken in March 2011

24 October 12

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The European Payments Council's position on Article 6 (interchange fees for direct debit transactions) of the European Commission's proposal for a Regulation

On 16 December 2010, the European Commission (the commission) published a proposal for a Regulation establishing technical requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euros (the Commission proposal). This Commission proposal is commonly referred to as the forthcoming Single Euro Payments Area ( ) Regulation. The European Payments Council ( ) first published its response to the Commission proposal in February 2011.

Following further evaluation of the possible implications of the Commission proposal on the Direct Debit ( ) business model, the Plenary (the Plenary) adopted the following position during its March 2011 meeting:

  • That Article 6, concerning interchange fees for direct debit transactions (and related Articles and Recitals) should be removed from the proposal.
  • That the November 2012 date, which is mentioned in Regulation (EC) No 924/2009, should be removed from that Regulation.
  • The continues to support the default multilateral balancing payment (MBP) of maximum 8.8 euro cents and the commitment expressed to the Directorate-General Competition of the European Commission and the European Competition Network (ECN)1 to review the figure after the migration period.

The updated version of the documentation, setting out the 's comments on the Commission proposal, was published on the Website following the Plenary meeting in March 2011(see 'related files' below). For detailed information regarding the 's position on Article 6 concerning interchange fees for direct debit transactions, as included in the Commission proposal for the Regulation, please also find a link to a separate article on this forthcoming Regulation below.

Establishment of an Clearing and Settlement Forum

The term 'payment system', as defined in the Payment Services Directive (PSD), means a funds transfer system with formal and standardised arrangements and common rules for the processing, clearing and / or settlement of payment transactions. In other words, a funds transfer system enables the exchange of funds (money) and messages between two payment service providers ( ) executing a payment transaction. These fund transfer systems can be as well as separate business - public or private - entities (which may or may not be owned by banks).

In the context, a payment system in the meaning of a 'funds transfer system', is referred to as a clearing and settlement mechanism (CSM). Services offered by competing CSMs based on the payment schemes, are governed by market forces and are outside the 's remit as there is a clear separation between the as the Scheme Manager and CSMs. The approved the principles for the CSMs in its 'PE-ACH/CSM Framework' (see 'related links' below). PE-ACH stands for pan-European automated clearing house.

Following further dialogue between the and CSMs, the Plenary resolved to establish the ' Clearing and Settlement Forum' (ECSF). The objectives of the ECSF are to strengthen the dialogue between the as the Scheme Manager for the Credit Transfer ( ) and Direct Debit ( ) Schemes and a standardisation body developing scheme rules and standards for the euro payments industry and the organisations taking care of clearing and settlement. The ECSF will also provide a platform to share best practices to secure end-to-end processing of payments

The focus should be exclusively on the and Schemes and technical and operational issues. The ECSF will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Payment Schemes Working Group and a representative of the CSMs.

Approval of Mobile Contactless Card Payments Interoperability Implementation Guidelines for consultation

The Plenary approved the 's Mobile Contactless Card Payments Interoperability Implementation Guidelines, to be released at the end of April 2011 on the Website for public consultation. Stakeholders are invited and encouraged to provide comments by 15 June 2011, with a final document expected to be published by October 2011. These guidelines will enable the quick development and implementation of mobile solutions by: promoting the use of open standards; clarifying the roles of key stakeholders; positioning the responsibilities of the in relation to other industry bodies and defining the adequate level of security for the entire mobile payment value chain in order to establish confidence in this environment. Please see the link to a separate article on this subject in the 'related links' section.

Analysis of the business to business needs regarding : request for a proposal from consultancy firms

As reported in the previous Newsletter, various market players indicated that there are several requirements for additional features and services specific for the business to business (B2B) use of credit transfers. In subsequent discussions in the 's Customer Stakeholder Forum (CSF), the concept of a service level agreement (SLA) for or an optional Rulebook was brought forward by the stakeholders. The Plenary resolved in December 2010 that the Payment Schemes Working Group should carry out a study, for review, as to whether there is a market need to initiate work to accommodate specific B2B credit transfer requirements. It was subsequently decided that a study will be carried out by an external consultancy. The has therefore published a letter (see 'related links' below) inviting offers from external candidates to carry out this study. The deadline for receipt of offers is 20 May 2011.

Publication of the Annual Activity Report 2010

The Plenary noted that the Annual Activity Report 2010 (see 'related links' below) was published in March 2011. The report highlights further progress achieved in all areas covered by the work programme. It is an informative, non-technical resource for readers wishing to learn more about the 's activities. The report covers the evolution of the and Schemes, the e-mandates e-operating model, for cards, mobile and online payments, the cash repositioning strategy aimed at the creation of the Single Euro Cash Area (SECA), and information security.

Gerard Hartsink is the Chair of the .

Related links:

Update March 2011: EPC Response to the European Commission Proposal for a Regulation Establishing Technical Requirements for Credit Transfers and Direct Debits in Euros (December 2010)

Invitation to Suppliers to Submit a Proposal to Conduct a SEPA-wide Survey for Corporate Needs on SEPA Credit Transfer (Letter EPC040-11)

EPC PE-ACH/CSM Framework

Annual Activity Report 2010 - the definitive progress report on the work programme (This publication is no longer online. To view the latest Annual Activity Report, please visit this page on the Website: 'About EPC'.)

Related articles in this issue:

The SEPA Regulation - A Progress Report. First reactions by European Parliament and Council of the European Union introduce important improvements to European Commission's proposal for a SEPA Regulation

Have Your Say. EPC Mobile Contactless SEPA Card Payments Interoperability Implementation Guidelines: consultation starts in April 2011

1The European Commission and the national competition authorities in all European Union Member States cooperate with each other through the European Competition Network (ECN).

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