ECB recommends instant eurozone payments

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Instant payments across Europe are the next step in banking reform, according to the European Central Bank.

The Euro Retail Payments Board, a body set up last year to develop the euro payments market, has has decided to “step up work on the topics of instant payments in euros, person-to-person mobile payments and contactless payments”.

The ECB chairs the ERPB, and announced that the board has issued a set of recommendations that are designed to some of the remaining issues following the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). In a move to improve the efficiency of payments in the area, the ERPB said there is “a need for at least one pan-European instant payment solution for euros open to any payment service provider in the EU.”

The ECRB will invite the supply side of the industry to assess the issues that a move of this sort would raise, and will include the European Payments Council in the invitation.

Last August common standards for euro currency credit transfers and direct debits were implemented throughout the eurozone. All eurozone countries were given until 1st February this year to implement SEPA standards, but the deadline was extended to 1st August when the European Commission intervened on behalf of some businesses who were as yet unprepared to make the changes.

“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 ERPB chairman and ECB executive board member Yves Mersch. “The development of person-to-person mobile payments in euros may depend significantly on the availability of instant clearing services.”

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