An agreement between two major industry players has brought Europe a step closer to using mobile phone technology for direct payments.
The European Payments Council (EPC), the decision-making body of the European payments industry, and GlobalPlatform, the smart card infrastructure industry association and standards leader, yesterday (18 May) signed an agreement to work together to promote smart card technologies.
The technology is already in use in other jurisdictions, but has yet to be adopted on an EU-wide scale. France has initiated trails where some retailers are installing terminals to facilitate contactless payments.
Yesterday’s agreement will facilitate the quick implementation of smart cards, as GlobalPlatform will help provide standardisation for the payments industry’s smart card payment offerings. This will allow the two organisations to work together to contribute to a “cohesive ecosystem”, according to senior EPC official Dag-Inge Flatraaker.
To develop a common payment infrastructure and standards within the euro zone, European banks and credit associations set up the EPC in June 2002. The European Commission has already confirmed its support for the industry towards the integration of infrastructures (EURACTIV 23/07/08).
The EPC collaborates with the Commission on the Single European Payments Area (SEPA), which seeks to remove regulatory and administrative obstacles and thus reduce the cost of cross-border payments for consumers.
The EU executive’s e-Money Directive was adopted by the European Parliament last month (EURACTIV 27/04/09). The new directive “will make it easier for electronic money institutions engaged in other business activities, such as telecommunications, to develop innovative services into payments market,” said a Commission spokesperson.