European Union (EU) integration rarely follows the fastest possible trajectory, but relies on incremental progress over time. More than 14 years of the Single Euro Payments Area () in the making, based on several EU legislative interventions aimed at promoting the harmonisation of the euro payments market, is a prime example in this context.
Up to this point it has been recognised that facilitating the transition of millions of market participants to harmonised payment schemes and technical standards requires allowing for a degree of flexibility. The Credit Transfer () and Direct Debit () Schemes, developed by the European Payments Council () in close dialogue with all stakeholders, also reflect this fact.
Dialogue with stakeholders across frequently demonstrates that the requirements of bank customers, with regard to the payment schemes, differ widely across and within the various customer segments and countries. The and Schemes, therefore, today include mandatory elements to be observed by all adhering payment service providers () as well as optional elements allowing to offer specific features in response to market demand.
At the same time, the lawmaker has provided Member States with options to derogate, during a transitional period, from certain provisions included with the ‘Regulation () No 260/2012 establishing technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro’, which sets out compliance requirements applicable to euro credit transfers and direct debits.
In this blog, Jean-Yves Jacquelin, Chair of the Payment Schemes Working Group, provides an overview of variations possible in today. With migration to and in the euro area nearly complete, the question is whether a majority of stakeholders is willing to relinquish – at least in the mid-term – any (or even all) of the options, exceptions, exemptions and variations currently available in favour of further harmonisation.
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