PEPSI – the Pan European Payment System Initiative to counter Visa and MasterCard, backed by ECB

6 noiembrie 2019

„It is also enough that an upset American President takes the decision to cut the payments and there, we will see our dependence” – in its investigation, the agency France-Presse sheds light on the initiative of European banks to set up their own payment device. And if Europeans could pay without passing through the American Visa, MasterCard or another foreign giant of tech? Twenty European banks, backed by the ECB, are working behind the scenes on this issue, which has become strategic with the rise of political and commercial tensions, AFP informs.

Twenty European banks are working on setting up a pan-European payment system to challenge the dominance of Visa, Mastercard and technology companies such as Google and PayPal, European banking and government sources confirmed on Tuesday.

The Pan European Payment System Initiative (PEPSI) would handle all forms of cashless transactions, the sources said

Carlo Bovero, Head of World Cards and Retail Payments at BNP Paribas, spoke about the initiative Tuesday at a conference organized by Revue Banque, evoking „a very serious project” between banks „that represent a large part of Europe „.

A French banking source close to the subject said the idea came from the European Central Bank, which has been pushing for a system to allow Europeans transfer money to each other instantly.

The source, who asked not to be named, said the ECB was „worried about the sovereignty of payments and explained that it would appreciate if we looked into the issue,” adding that it was chiefly a „political not a technical initiative”.

Apart from US card companies, Europeans are also seeking a alternative to US and Chinese technology giants such as Google and Alipay.

Jerome Reboul, a senior French treasury official, told the Revue Banque conference that „in the past two years opinions on the future of payments has changed considerably” in Europe.

In a sign of the sensitive nature of the discussions, however, none of the big banking groups contacted by AFP would speak openly about the project.

According to various sources, only banks from countries in the euro zone (Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Spain) are involved in the initiative, including a large part of French banks and Deutsche Bank in Germany.

The goal? Develop a standard based on instant payment capable of managing all dematerialized forms of payment, either by card, transfer, direct debit or mobile. PEPSI targets big, at least 60% of electronic payments in Europe.

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