In its second meeting, on 1 December 2014, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), a multi-stakeholder group chaired by the European Central Bank (ECB), decided to step up work on the topics of instant payments in euro, and person-to-person mobile payments and contactless payments. Ecommerce Europe is a member of the ERPB. “Participating in the ERPB is crucial to represent the interests of the e-commerce retailers on a European level. At the agenda of the ERPB are specific online payments, for e-retailers it is important that they have their own voice within the ERPB.” says Paul Alfing, Chair of the e-Payments Working Committee of Ecommerce Europe.
Instant payments in euro
Instant payments, defined as solutions available 24/7/365 and resulting in the immediate or close to immediate interbank clearing of the transaction and crediting of the payee’s account, are the next frontier of development in the payments industry. The ERPB is concerned that the emergence of new solutions might end up creating a fragmented market in Europe for instant payments, similar to what existed in regular payments in the past. “Solutions for instant payments should avoid the ‘silo’ mentality of closed systems that don’t communicate with each other, and take advantage of the harmonisation and integration already achieved with the SEPA project,” said Yves Mersch, member of the ECB’s Executive Board and chair of the ERPB.
Update and follow-up of the ERPB work plan
The members of the ERPB agreed on the update of the work plan of the ERPB, including setting up two work streams on: (i) person-to-person mobile payments in euro; and (ii) card- and mobile-based contactless proximity payments in euro and their respective mandates. Ecommerce Europe will participate in both working groups as it did in the ones on SCT-SDD post migration issues and on pan-European electronic mandates for SDD of which Ecommerce Europe was the co-chair. Alfing: ”Ecommerce Europe’s target is to come up with a workable European policy to improve and facilitate cross-border sales. By participating in these working groups we can show our vision on e-payments and think and act constructively”.
Recommendations on pan-European electronic mandates for SDD
On the basis of a report prepared by the working group on pan-European electronic mandates, the ERPB members agreed on the main recommendations, which relate to the issuance, acceptance and maintenance of electronic mandates for SEPA direct debits at the pan-European level. The choice of which electronic mandate solution to use should be free and creditors should handle electronic mandates in such a way that debtors have the freedom to use non-domestic payment accounts. More important, electronic mandate solutions providers are urged to be open to interoperability requests by other solution providers and, if feasible, make use of the technical description provided in Annex VII of the SEPA Direct Debit scheme rulebooks.
The full set of recommendations made by the ERPB on pan-European electronic mandates for SDD can be found here.
Recommendations on SCT-SDD post migration issues
On the basis of a report of the working group on SCT-SDD post migration issues the ERPB members agreed on the main recommendations, such as to increase the awareness among payers and payees that payers have the freedom to use non-domestic payment accounts, irrespective of the location of the payee and increase the availability of up-to-date information on valid bank identifiers used in international bank account numbers (IBANs) and corresponding bank identifier codes (BICs); this will facilitate the use of the IBAN as the unique identifier also for cross-border transaction. The ERPB also endorsed a set of more technical recommendations related to migration and the functioning of the SCT and SDD schemes and outlined ways forward on these.
The full set of recommendations made by the ERPB on SCT-SDD post-migration issues can be found here.
About the Euro Retail Payments Board
The ERPB was created in 2013 to replace the SEPA Council. Its aim is to foster the development of an integrated, innovative and competitive market for retail payments in euro in the European Union. The ERPB is composed of seven representatives from the demand side (e.g. consumers, retailers and corporations) and seven from the supply side (banks and payment and e-money institutions). They are joined by five representatives from the euro area national central banks and one representative from the non-euro area EU national central banks (all on a rotating basis). The European Commission participates as an observer. Ecommerce Europe will use its position in the ERPB promote its vision on an open market with successful pan-European e-payment methods that are a crucial element in future growth. Ecommerce Europe aims to transform this vision into constructive actions and initiatives towards a more effective and efficient e-payments landscape in Europe, beneficial for both web merchants and consumers.