European payment service enters test phase at yearend

European payment service enters test phase at yearend

The European Payment Initiative (EPI)  will enter a test phase at the end of the year, the banking consortium in charge of its development announced on Tuesday.

“The digital wallet with person-to-person payment will be launched in a pilot phase with the first users at the end of 2023 in France and Germany,” the EPI consortium said in a statement.

Users will be able to transfer money to each other, from bank account to bank account, for free and in a few seconds. This option will be offered, alongside the classic transfer, via the customer’s bank app or a dedicated mobile phone app.

The service will be progressively extended to payments from private individuals to professionals, to online purchases, and then to payments at the point of sale between early 2024 and 2025, the EPI added in its statement.

It will be available in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Together, these markets represent more than 60% of electronic transactions in Europe, so this is a very good base to grow from, EPI CEO Martina Weimert told a press conference.

EPI has purchased two start-ups, Dutch Currence iDEAL and Luxembourg payment solutions provider Payconiq International (PQI), the company said. It also announced four new partner banks: Belgium’s Belfius, Germany’s DZ Bank (which had left a year ago), ABN Amro and Rabobank.

The alliance has 16 members in total, including KBC, ING, BNP Paribas and Worldline.

Announced in the summer of 2020, the European card scheme aimed to create a new unified pan-European payment solution based on instant transaction technology.

It was initially envisioned as a competitor to US-based Visa and Mastercard, but the project suffered numerous defections and scaled back its ambitions.

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