Banks to ease ways to pay across Europe

The banking group, the European Payments Council (EPC), has announced plans to introduce two new single payment systems across Europe by January 2008.

By January 2008, there will be a single market for electronic transactions, card payments and a European direct debit scheme. This was the promise made at a press conference on 5 April 2005 by the EPC (European Payments Council), which represents the whole of the banking community across the EU.

Under the new scheme one payment instruction to a customer’s local bank will suffice to credit a payment to any other bank within the eurozone. Similarly, it will be possible to set up direct debits across borders. There will also be a new cards framework, allowing mutual recognition and use of bank cards. 

Only euro transactions will be covered and all 12 eurozone countries will therefore be completely integrated into the system. Non-euro member state banks and customers will only be able to benefit from the system for transactions in euros.

The announcement comes just weeks after the banking community received a ticking off from Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy for not making sufficient progress towards the single European payments system goal (see EURACTIV 14 March 2005).

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