MasterCard credit cards are seen in this illustrative photograph (File Image)
Europe is looking to create its own payments network by 2025 to rival American corporations Visa and Mastercard, Martina Weimert, CEO, European Payments Initiative (EPI) said on February 24.
The EPI was launched in July 2020 and became an interim company in December 2020 with 22 banks as shareholders.
The European Union (EU) and European Central Bank are aiming to make the continent a “master of its own destiny” with homegrown payments scheme in a sector dominated by US players, Reuters reported.
The aim is to “regulate directly" and build “autonomy” in core financial services, it said. As per the plan, banks have time till December 2021 to “commit to implementing over the following three years the new network for a physical payment card and digital counterpart.”
Weimert said this would “bring choice to consumers and also merchants in the future.”
“Priority will be given to European players in building the new network. This will give us and for the whole European economy more sovereignty, more independence, becoming masters of our own destiny here,” she added.
A traditionally cash-favouring region, Europe is slowly seeing a trend towards cashless payment options amid the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
Among the 22 banks (from seven EU countries) backing the venture include BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, ING, Sabadell, Societe Generale and UniCredit.
On building trust, Weimert said it would be “normal for EPI to take time to build up trust,” like Apple Pay and PayPal did, but the market positioning is “nevertheless very nice” due to six of the European market.
“…and 50 percent of all transactions in the euro are still cash transactions. I am not saying we want to have cash disappearing but at least reducing part of it,” she added.