European Union (EU) law effectively mandates migration to Credit Transfer () and Direct Debit (SDD) in the euro area by 1 February 2014. The European Payments Council () fully supports the recommendation of both the European Central Bank and the Council of the EU, representing EU Member States, that payment service users in the euro area should aim to complete migration at the earliest stage possible, taking into consideration that the availability of external resources offered by banks and other service providers will be stretched to the limit before 2013 is over.
However, latest data on the progress of Single Euro Payments Area () migration suggests that many payment service users plan to complete the transition very close to the 1 February 2014 deadline. This is particularly likely with regard to migration to SDD. The July 2013 edition of the Newsletter (see ‘related links’ below) reports on the migration project of the Mazet Group, a medium-sized business in France. This company completed migration to and will be ready for SDD before the end of 2013.
We also feature an interview with Andrea Hasselbach, the owner of the dance and gymnastics school ‘Girlfriends’ in Cologne, Germany. This small business currently collects 45 direct debits per month. Ms Hasselbach took note of her bank’s recommendation to complete the migration process as soon as possible, but has other plans. She says: “I will focus on several non- related business projects during the summer. It is also the only time of the year when I can take a couple of weeks off and I will not cancel my holidays for .” Ms Hasselbach plans to finalise the Girlfriends migration project in October 2013. It currently appears that banks and other service providers supporting the demand side during the transition will have to prepare for a very busy season towards the end of the year.
On 24 July 2013, the European Commission introduced a legislative proposal to amend the existing EU Payment Services Directive (PSD). This proposal includes rules on access to payment accounts of bank customers. Payment account access services are also offered by providers currently operating outside the scope of the PSD; i.e. that are neither licensed nor supervised. In his article, entitled: ‘On the Difference between Innovation and the Wild West: How to Ensure the Security of Bank Customers’ Funds and Data with Payment Account Access Services’, Chairman Javier Santamaría outlines key considerations of the with regard to access to consumers’ payment accounts by currently non-licensed, non-supervised third-party service providers. He clarifies: “Convenience is a priority. Security is indispensable. Promoting payment innovation to the benefit of both payers and payees requires combining the two.”
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