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« Awards and ceremonies | Main | Mobile security modality »

Towards the (other) third way

By Dave Birch posted May 22 2008 at 8:06 AM

[Dave Birch] Forum friend Peter Jones of Payment Systems Europe wrote an excellent piece for European Card Review last year in which he argued that a viable way to create a third payment network in Europe under SEPA pressures might be to start with existing ATM networks rather than to create new networks. He even gave a specific example (as one of the scenarios to be explored) linking together EUFISERV with First Data. Now comes news from Brussels that inter-bank switch EUFISERV (which was owned by retail banks and savings banks in Europe) has spun out its ATM card business. This is because of SEPA, as is the announcement that First Data acquiring a 50% stake in the switch business. This will create a new entity that connects 74,000 ATMs, 1.5m POS and 165 million debit and credit cards in Europe. Well, well.

The First Data / EUIFSERV announcement caught my eye because it was only a couple of weeks ago that the Commission was (again) moaning about banks switching to Visa and MasterCard instead of creating a new European "third way", a Euro version of Switch, Laser, MisterCash and all of the other domestic schemes that are vanishing under SEPA pressure...

EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said payment card providers must not use the single European payments area (SEPA) as an excuse to replace national card payment schemes with more expensive ones.

[From EU's McCreevy tells payment card cos not to use SEPA as excuse for price rises - Forbes.com]

You'll recall, of course, that a few months ago

the Euro-Alliance of Payment Schemes (EAPS) has been set up to explore ways of linking existing national debit card schemes into a pan-European network

[From Digital Money Forum: Changes to the card payments landscape in Europe]

EUFISERV was one of the six founding members of EAPS.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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