B2B Payments

Task Force Launches EU Instant Payment Plan

As Europe works toward a single market to facilitate cross-border payments, industries have their own goals to accomplish to make the European Commission’s agenda happen.

EU bank-owned payment service provider EBA Clearing is one such player that has been working for more than a decade to launch its pan-European payment clearing and settlement project. On Monday (March 9), the firm announced the formation of an Instant Payment Task Force to prepare and establish the technology and infrastructure needed to achieve pan-EU instant payment processing.

According to reports, the task force first met last week after its formation last February. The group, EBA Clearing said, is made up of about 20 experts from the company and its user institutions.

The instant payment plan was first formulated in 2014 in response to the Euro Retail Payments Board, which is encouraging payments service providers to achieve instant payment operations across the union, and to create at least one pan-European instant payment process that integrates with any payment service provider.

According to EBA Clearing Chairman Erkki Poutiainen, the task force aims to answer the ERPB’s call, which was based on a vision document by the European Central Bank. “We have resolved to contribute to the supply side effort that a Europe-wide move to instant payments will require and we feel that a pan-European collaborative effort is the best way forward to respond positively to the call for action by the ERPB and the ECB,” he said.

According to Poutiainen, the task force will now begin mapping out the process for launching an inter-payment service provider solution across Europe. The plan, EBA Clearing said, will span between 2015 and 2018, but the company expects to propose at least one solution by the middle of this year.

Europe has spent years promoting and working to achieve a single market, a feat that includes the Single Euro Payments Area, in which all EU member states will operate under the same payments rights and obligations.

The efforts have begun to pay off. About one year after the SEPA compliance deadline passed, the venture has streamlined B2B cross-border payments, which was once a significant point of friction for B2B procurement in Europe, experts say.

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