EU Awaits Launch Of Payments Network Challenger This Week

European Banks Plan Their Own Payment System

A group of big European banks is planning to challenge Visa’s and Mastercard’s positions as the world’s two largest payment processing networks, Electronic Payments International reported. 

Dubbed the Pan European Payment System Initiative, or PEPSI, the group has the support of 20 French and German banks, and would handle all forms of cashless transactions.  

PEPSI promises to rival not only the two credit card giants, but also other financial technology companies including Google, Apple, Alipay and WeChat Pay. 

The launch, first reported by Les Échos, is expected to be revealed by the 24 banks as early as Thursday (July 2). 

The announcement is expected to promise to provide details, including the creation of a common structure. A so-called “scheme manager” will be the central governing body, the online news service reported.

The initiative has the support of every major French bank, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank in Germany, Santander in Spain and Banca Intesa Sanpaolo in Italy. In addition, PEPSI is backed by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission.

PEPSI promises a European standard that would not only process card payments, but would also execute transfers, instant payments and mobile payments without using Visa’s or Mastercard’s networks.

Electronic Payments International reports that the system is composed of three parts: instant card or transfer payment transactions, a request-to-pay service that allows users to request payment from debtors, and the eWallet, which combines the card and the request-to-pay on an app.

This is not the first time that European banks have tried such a model. In 2011, PYMNTS reported on the Monnet Project, where two dozen European banks from seven countries considered starting a new European card system. The initiative was later abandoned amid opposition from the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU).

PYMNTS recently reported on the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS), a real-time payments network created by the European Central Bank (ECB), the EU’s regulatory body, to be transferred quickly and seamlessly among the 27-nation bloc.

“The Eurosystem [aims to create] an integrated payments area in Europe where solutions are based on a common scheme, and Pan-European market infrastructures, such as TIPS, [bring] benefits to citizens and businesses alike,” the ECB told PYMNTS in a recent interview.