This week European Parliament’s plenary session addressed the payments package: Two proposals concerning the reform of the Payment Services Directive and the Regulation on Multilateral Interchange Fees. On the 2nd of April, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) had a debate on the payments package in the plenary sitting and on the 3rd of April the MEPs adopted the proposals.
Ecommerce Europe welcomes the aims of the proposals on Payment Services and Multilateral Interchange Fees. It foresees rules that should secure online transactions, increase consumer rights on payments, provide the legal framework for the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) and foster innovation in payment solutions through Third-party Payment Providers (or TPPs). Last but not least, the proposal stipulates that fees on transactions are subjected to restrictions, making online purchases less costly for both consumers and retailers. The measures can facilitate a more competitive, more innovative online shopping environment, to the benefit of consumers and retailers alike.
The dossier, under the auspices of respectively Members of European Parliament Diogo Feio (EPP) and Pablo Zalba Bidegain (EPP) received some last minute amendments from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group. Most notably, with the amendments they wanted to exempt commercial cards from the interchange fees regulation – which would leave them untouched by the caps on fees and which would give big card schemes the opportunity to keep the status quo and continue to charge high fees for consumers and retailers. Luckily, the amendments were rejected and commercial cards are now included in the legislation.
After the vote in plenary, the proposal still needs approval from the Council. The Greek and Italian Presidencies of the Council have indicated that the payments package is not a priority to them. It is therefore likely that the topic will only be debated in three-way negotiations between Council, Commission and Parliament in 2015. Ecommerce Europe continues to push national administrations to put the payments package higher on the agenda, as the reforms could provide for an enormous boost for e-commerce.