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04 July 2020

European Payments Initiative: ​​​A promising step forward for payments in Europe

The European Association of Cooperative Banks, the European Savings and Retail Banking Group and the European Banking Federation welcome the decision taken today by a group of 16 major European banks to take their European Payments Initiative (EPI) to the next phase.

A group of major European banks today announced the launch of the implementation phase of the European Payments Initiative that aims to create a pan-European payment solution leveraging notably instant SEPA credit transfers. EPI has the ambition to become the new standard of payments for European consumers and merchants in all types of payment transactions [1].

The European Association of Cooperative Banks, the European Savings and Retail Banking Group and the European Banking Federation share the view that the initiative announced today gives an important impetus for the further evolution of Europe's payments landscape and brings the potential to swiftly drive Europe's payments market forward. The EPI addresses several of the building blocks identified [2] by the three associations in their policy paper for building an integrated EU payments market.

In that, the associations observed the European payments landscape  at a crossroads. Changing customer demands, the development of SEPA instruments by European banks, an intense regulatory focus and increased competition, innovation and technological change have driven an ever-advancing European payments landscape in which much looks possible, but the risk of fragmentation lurks. At the same time, European authorities have indicated that payments form an important factor for European sovereignty and an important driver for the greater international role of the euro.

​A timely initiative, EPI aims to respond to these challenges. For the EPI to become a success, it will be important to ensure that the envisaged payment solution can be supported by all credit institutions in Europe. In this context, the three associations encourage the EPI banks to approach the members of their respective associations for discussions joining the initiative. The associations would also like to stress that initiative such as EPI can only succeed with the full and continued support of the European institutions.

[1] ECB press release, European Commission press release, EPI press release

[2] Payments Policy for Europe: direction for the next five years


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