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What the future European bank card could change for you

Visa and Mastercard are so much a part of our lives that we sometimes forget that they are American. According to the European Central Bank, this dependence on payment networks across the Atlantic poses a risk of technological sovereignty and Frankfurt is pushing private players in the Old Continent to develop their own solutions. One of them, called EPI (European payments initiative, formerly PEPSI), is supported by around 20 major banks and technology companies like Atos. The project should officially launch this week and carries with it certain innovations.

The general idea is that, whatever the means of payment used to initiate a transaction – bank card, transfer, mobile payment, request for reimbursement – it could be converted into an instant transfer and cleared via the European TIPS infrastructure (Target Instant Payment Settlement), launched in November 2018. Already at the time, this solution was an alternative to the American networks and GAFA. It is currently only available for hex transfers, but the goal is to generalize it everywhere.

>> Read also – Instant transfer: the banks that offer it … and those that charge it

For the banks, the project is colossal: it should cost ten billion euros and will require the installation of a new brand as strong as Visa and Mastercard in the imagination of users. But to function effectively, all European banks will have to convert to it. And the challenge is far from won.

EPI will find it difficult to operate anywhere in Europe

“PPE is the same thing as Visa or Mastercard at European level, except that it is far from being unanimous: only certain countries and certain banks want it,” confides an expert on electronic payment networks. “EPI will not be functional throughout Europe, nor at all merchants. If their bank does not use PPE, they will not offer PPE ”, he explains.

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