[Dave Birch] Could SEPA challenge other payments methods used in the US, for global dominance? That’s what Javelin Strategy and Research ask in a piece called “SEPA payments: dismantling the tower of Babel”. They go on to say that it is “fascinating stuff”. If you need convincing, here are a couple of useful documents for you to download.

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Our good friends at Payment Systems Europe, who produced the excellent report on “Making SEPA a Reality” for the European Payments Council, have kindly allowed us to provide their material for downloading. So if you want to quick introduction to the topic, download there slide presentation…

Sepa Overview

You can download the full EPC report here…

Making Sepa A Reality

Incidentally, if you think that SEPA is some way off it is important to bear in mind that it is already causing changes in the European payments industry: new products (such as Visa’s V-Pay), mergers and acquisitions (such as ATOS Origin buying Banksys) and so on. If you’re interested in the future of payment cards, cross-border payments, ACHs and the like in Europe then you have to get up to speed on SEPA: 2010 isn’t that far away.


  1. It’s not just 2010. Banks have to show they are making a start on implementing all this by beginning 2008.
    With some of the European demonstrators such EPAS which is working on the terminal to acquirer standardisation aspect of SEPA not set to even start doing much concrete other than hold discussion till 2008, that seems unlikely.
    I suspect that what Javelin is getting at is the question of whether European banks will band together to form a completely new debit scheme for Europe that will compete with Maestro and Electron. That’s what the Berlin Group is working on. But by beginning 2008? Unlikely. Far more likely is that countries will simply opt for the International Schemes, like Belgium already has, or that we’ll see a whole raft of bilateral agreements.
    Anyhow, there’s a lot to keep an eye on for anyone who’s involved in this area – finetuning EMV, including cardholder to terminal interface (ie usability issues), the terminal to acquirer host interface (that’s the tough issue to crack) and issuer to acquirer interface (what the Berlin Group is considering). Plus there’s certification standardisation as well.
    I’ve written about all this in the current issue of European Card Review.

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