ECB to pick up post-migration SEPA issues with new retail board
The European Central Bank is to create a Euro Retail Payments Board to “help foster the development of an integrated, innovative and competitive market for retail payments in euro in the European Union”.
The ERPB will have a broader composition and mandate than its predecessor, the Single Euro Payments Area Council. The board will have seven representatives each from the demand side – consumers, retailers and corporations – and seven from the banks payment and e-money institutions, compared with five each on the SEPA Council.
They will be joined by five representatives from the euro area national central banks and one representative from the non-euro area EU national central banks on a rotating basis. The ERPB is to be chaired by the ECB and the European Commission has been invited to join as an observer.
The board’s work will consist “mainly of identifying strategic issues and work priorities, including business practices, requirements and standards,) and ensuring they are addressed”.
“Retail payments are the backbone of the real economy,” said Benoît Coeuré, member of the ECB executive board. “The integration of the European retail payments market is a natural consequence of the monetary union. It facilitates everyday life for European citizens and also trade, financial integration and market competitiveness in the European Union.”
Full migration to SEPA credit transfers and SEPA direct debits in the euro area is due to be completed in February 2014, but the ECB says that migration will not address all of the issues in the retail payments sector. “Further integration efforts are needed in a number of areas, including card payments and innovation,” it said in a statement.
Simon Newstead (left), head of market engagement at RBS Business Services, said: “The timing of this announcement is very appropriate. Once the initial migration to SEPA Credit Transfers and Direct Debits has been completed, it will be important to have a senior multi-stakeholder governance body that can work together to bring about the highest levels of payments harmonisation that our clients are seeking within the SEPA area, as well as promoting the development of new innovative solutions built on the legacy of the core SEPA schemes.”