The future European competitor of Visa and Mastercard launches a call for public funding
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – A 22-bank-backed pan-European payments network project to compete with US duo Mastercard and Visa on Tuesday appealed for public money, saying its private backers were not ready to shell out everything the money needed.
The European Payments Initiative (EPI) was launched last year and seeks to rally more banks and other payments players by December to finalize plans to start rolling out its instant payments network and by menu.
“Public funding would be good,” EPI Managing Director Martina Weimert said at an event organized by the European Federation of Payment Institutions. “Let’s not hide it, it will be a huge investment. It’s expensive.”
Retailers say they are not prepared to pay for it, while banks and other EPI shareholders “can only transport a limited amount,” Weimert said, without giving details of the investment required.
Deutsche Bank, UniCredit, BNP Paribas, ING, Societe Generale and Sabadell are among 22 banks from seven EU countries, including France, Germany and Spain, which back the company.
The European Union has been keen to achieve strategic autonomy in financial services, for example by reducing dependence on American Mastercard and Visa cards for cross-border card payments. It is not known whether this will extend to EPI financial support.
Weimert said the PPE is now in a “critical phase” of decision-making over the next few weeks.
It will build a new system and largely replace a plethora of national systems to reduce fragmentation and overlap in payments, she said, aiming to launch peer-to-peer transactions based on instant payments in 2022. , followed by electronic commerce.
“It’s a major change, so it will take time. Anyone who tells you it’s an easy call and let’s do it quick and dirty, well, they’re not really looking to transform the European ecosystem, ”Weimert added.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)