Credit card company moves towards Europe-wide system

Visa Europe has become the first company to declare a date for compliance with new Commission-led rules on the Single European Payment Area (SEPA).

At a press conference held on 30 May in Brussels, Marc Temmerman for Visa Europe declared that the company would meet the requirements by January 2007, a full year before the official deadline.

The Commission’s aim for SEPA, which is backed by the European Central Bank, is that consumers will ultimately benefit through increased facility of credit card use, the disappearance of separate national debit card schemes and the consequent decrease in expensive cheque and cash transactions. Under the new scheme, the processing of card transactions will also be opened up to full competition.

Visa’s move will have no direct effect on consumers but will create a single pricing structure for the company’s products for domestic and non-domestic transactions to all banks (not just within the Euro-zone).

The deadlines set for the whole banking industry by its own European Payments Council, are for new payment schemes to be up and running by January 2008 and old payment products to be phased out by 2010.

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