EPI CEO Says Europe Ready for One Digital Wallet

Martina Weimert, CEO of the European Payments Initiative (EPI), stated the need for a pan-European solution to further enhance the development of real-time payments.

EPI CEO Says Europe Ready for One Digital Wallet


Currently, in the countries of the European Union, regulators have taken the position of insisting on the need to develop instant payment systems. Against this background, the states of this association continue to use existing formats of economic relations to promote faster transactions in the region.

Successful national payment systems, including iDEAL in the Netherlands, Swedish Swish, and BLIK in Poland, stimulate the growth of online payments and payments at points of sale in these countries.

Martina Weimert says that the value of the system is of great value when the geography of its use expands beyond the borders of one state. According to her, the lack of a pan-European decision for instant payment infrastructure slows down the large-scale development of transactions in real-time.

The problem can be solved by the use of a common European digital wallet and an instant payment system led by EPI, consisting of large regional banks and acquirers. Martina Weimert says that her firm is committed to the concept of a single, reliable, and consistent solution in the field of payments since it is a mechanism of favorable simplification of processes for sellers and consumers.

The head of the company noted that the recent acquisition of the Dutch payment system Currenceideal and Luxembourg Payconiq International accelerates the implementation of the idea of creating a single infrastructure for instant transactions.

The goal is to use purchases that are still awaiting regulatory approval to launch a pilot personal digital wallet (P2P) in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany by the end of this year. This is the first stage of the concept implementation. As part of the second stage, it is planned to expand the payment solution to other European countries.

Martina Weimert says that France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium together have an equal 60% share in the European payment services market. In this case, it means the total volume of transactions made in the countries.

The company’s acquisitions will also allow for personal payments between consumers and businesses, meeting the need for professionals such as plumbers, yoga teachers, and babysitters who do not have a card terminal. The new form of payment is contactless e-commerce, and it can also be designated as unattended trading. This format allows users to scan a QR code and complete a transaction on their phone without having to log into an app or an online store.

Interoperability has long been the main principle of the European payment ecosystem. This is the goal that national digital wallets were aimed at achieving with the creation of the European Association of Mobile Payment Systems (EMPSA) in 2019.

Martina Weimert, says that the initiative, which currently consists of 16 digital wallet providers, has little prospect in terms of the probability of success. EMPSA wants to use national payment solutions and make them compatible, but, according to her, this is unlikely to be an effective solution.

Martina Weimert argues that connecting multiple systems is something more than a standard technical event and is aimed at solving an impossible task, in her opinion, combining various rules, business strategies, and use cases. She noted that the integration within a single whole of systems that operate in different dimensions of the payment infrastructure is a concept with a low degree of probability of a positive result.

Martina Weimert is convinced that the missing link is a digital wallet that co-exists in a single way across borders, which can offer European and international merchants working in the EU markets a single point of EPI integration without the need to connect to various national solutions. She is also convinced that the European Community is ready for this.

The head of EPI noted that the general solution in this context is not the case when the association strengthens individual systems. In her opinion, local infrastructures are integrated within a single solution in order to survive, while adhering to the concept of existence as national payment systems, which will not lead to the desired result.

As we have reported earlier, Mastercard Integrates With a Stablecoin Digital Wallet.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.