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Major European banks begin implementation of a new unified payment scheme and solution, the European Payment Initiative (EPI)

Paul Lanois


United Kingdom, United States

A group of 16 European banks from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain has begun the implementation phase of a new unified payment scheme and solution, the European Payment Initiative ("EPI").

The goal of the EPI is to create a unified pan-European payment solution leveraging instant payments and the single euro payments area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst), a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments. The EPI aims to become a new standard means of payment for European consumers and merchants in all types of transactions including in-store, online, cash withdrawal and “peer-to-peer” in addition to existing payment scheme solutions.
The EPI would be available for use anywhere in Europe and supersede the fragmented payment landscape that currently exists in Europe. The EPI also aims to align the European payments ecosystem of banks, merchants and acquirers / payment services providers, in line with the EU's Single Market strategy and the European digital agenda.
In order to facilitate the implementation, an interim company will be created in Brussels (Belgium), which will set out the technical and operational roadmap and the required implementation steps. The accomplishments of this interim company will be evaluated by each bank before moving on to the EPI’s final corporate structure. 
The EPI's current founding members include, among others, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Groupe BPCE, CaixaBank, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, DZ Bank, ING, KBC Group, La Banque Postale, Santander, Société Générale and UniCredit.

Other payment service providers are invited to join the initiative. Until the end of 2020, a window remains open for European market players, individual banks or banking syndicates, as well as third-party payment service providers to apply and join the EPI as a founder. The EPI is expected to enter the operational stage in 2022.

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