Sixteen large Eurozone banks have come together to begin the implementation of a new payment system to take on the power of Visa and Mastercard and the threat posed by large Chinese and US companies.
The European Payments Initiative (EPI) aims to build a unified pan-European payment system, which offers a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments.
The banks supporting the project – BBVA, BNP Paribas, Groupe BPCE, CaixaBank, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, Deutsche Bank, Deutcher Sparkassen- und Giroverband, DZ BANK Group, ING, KBC Group, La Banque Postale, Banco Santander, Société Générale, UniCredit – has the full support of the European Central Bank, which has long promoted the idea of a national cross-border system capable of acquiring the big brands, but so far without success.
The start of the implementation phase is expected to materialize in the coming weeks through the creation of an interim company in Brussels, Belgium, which will establish clear results including the completion of the technical and operational roadmap. The results of this Interim Company will be evaluated by each bank before moving on to the final corporate structure of the EPI.
Other payment service providers are invited to participate in the initiative. Until the end of 2020, a window remains open for European market players, individual banks or banking unions, as well as for third-party payment service providers to apply and join EPI as a founder. EPI is expected to enter the operational phase in 2022.