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SEPA goes mobile

Mobile payments are soaring in Europe. The EPC aims to facilitate the use of all SEPA instruments with a mobile while ensuring the convenience, safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness of these payments.

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And because we strive for payments harmonisation in Europe, we also wish to achieve the interoperability of mobile payments solutions at a pan-European level and to remove any barriers consumers and merchants may face when making mobile payments. Our goal is to help create a consistent customer experience across SEPA.

An increasing number of European citizens make use of a mobile device for their financial services, including payments. There are two types of mobile payment. Mobile ‘proximity’ payments refer to the act of paying with a mobile device using a ‘proximity’ technology (such as Near Field Communication or NFC, Quick Response or QR codes, or Bluetooth) typically in a merchant store, parking place or on public transport. Mobile ‘remote’ payments are independent of the customer and merchant location and are practiced for online shopping from a mobile device (m-commerce), but may also be used for Person-to-Person (P2P) payments using a mobile telecommunication network (4G, 5G or mobile internet). Since cross-industry cooperation on specifications, guidelines and best practices has been identified as a critical success factor in this area, the EPC established in 2018 the multi-stakeholder group on Mobile Initiated (instant) SEPA Credit Transfers (MSG MSCT). The group focuses on the technical interoperability aspects of these payments to enable cross-border usage of these payment instruments. Find out more about MSG MSCT work here

The success of mobile phones in our increasingly digital society and the extensive palette of services they offer make them an ideal channel to spread the use of SEPA payment instruments, in particular (instant) credit transfers and cards. 

Mobile payments become increasingly important in the market but also pose a number of challenges to be addressed, such as the rapid introduction of new technologies, the complexity of mobile devices and ecosystems, and security. Therefore, the EPC is actively involved in several aspects of their progress in collaboration with various other standards and industry bodies in this area, including the European Payments Stakeholders Group (EPSG), nexo, the European Mobile Payment Systems Association (EMPSA), ISO TC 68 – Financial Services., EMVCo and W3C.

Supporting the development of mobile proximity payments

Contactless card payments are already quite well established in the market but the adoption of contactless technology for mobile payments is progressing at different paces across Europe, with huge geographical differences. Eager to contribute to the further development of this innovative method of payments across Europe, the EPC is involved in various initiatives, in particular those related to the recommendations made by the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) in this area.

Read more about the EPC initiatives on mobile proximity payments

Facilitating Mobile Person-to-Person Payments

Mobile P2P payments are booming in Europe, but for the time being such solutions stop at national borders. Therefore, in February 2019, the EPC launched the SEPA Proxy Lookup (SPL) scheme, aiming to facilitate interoperability between participating payment solutions by enabling the conversion of a proxy (i.e. mobile phone number or e-mail address) into a payment account identifier (currently an IBAN) across SEPA.

Read more about mobile P2P payments

Mobile Wallet Payments

A mobile wallet is a service accessed through a mobile device which allows its owner to securely access, manage and use a variety of services and applications including payments, mobile banking, identification, loyalty, couponing, etc. The usage of a mobile wallet is at the core of mobile payments because it enhances consumer convenience (for example, payment information may be stored in the wallet rather than the consumer having to enter it via the mobile device keyboard). The EPC White paper on mobile wallet payments provides an insight into the ways in which mobile wallets may facilitate payments.

Read more about the White paper on mobile wallet payments