Through Arnaud Crouzet, VP Security & Consulting at Fime
What is PPE?
The European Payment Initiative (EPI) aims to provide a pan-European payment solution. EPI aims to set itself apart from other payment methods and meet the challenges created by the fragmentation of the European payments landscape.
Some of the biggest banks in the EU are already members of the EPI, and several more are expected to join after its introduction in 2022. In a rapidly evolving payments ecosystem, this cooperation at European level is long overdue. The initiative is expected to bring multiple benefits to customers and merchants, but gaining their trust is crucial for successful adoption first.
What does this mean for traders and customers and are they ready for it?
Merchants of all sizes are looking for simplified payment integration, ideally a single solution that connects all of their customers’ payment methods. It is difficult for merchants to integrate each payment market independently, especially those who have no experience in this area. Therefore, a unified payment network would greatly benefit European merchants. However, the solution must be instantaneous, as the market anticipates a true real-time payment solution. To prepare for the EPI, traders need to fully understand how it will work in the European market and what it means for them.
For customers, banks should ensure that PPE does not disrupt or confuse their payment experience when banking online or shopping. For example, performing pre-authorizations with instant payment might confuse customers if they see a pre-authorized amount on their statement, which is then adjusted to reflect actual charges. To simplify the payment experience for the customer, this should be managed so that they only see the final amount paid. In order for customers to be ready to adopt EPI, they need to be aware that the solution will simplify and speed up payment experiences, making their lives easier.
What are the security expectations?
For a payment method to be accepted, it must be secure and provide guarantees for both the consumer and the merchant. That is why they must be aware of the security measures that will be in place and the payment assurances that will be provided. Instant payments made with EPI will be digital and will work 24/7. Therefore, security measures must also be in real time for successful adoption.
EPI must strike the right balance between safety, minimal disruption and credibility. Making traders and consumers aware that they are fully protected – in the same or better way than today – is an obligation. It will only be successful if consumers and traders trust the initiative, therefore education on this subject must become a priority.
What use cases will the initiative address?
EPI offers numerous payment opportunities across Europe, including card services, digital wallets, cash withdrawals, online payments and real-time person-to-person (P2P) payment services.
To meet merchant demands and deliver a seamless digital payment service, EPI needs to address all of the different use cases that already exist today. If consumers know they can make payments, access online banking, and shop for items online faster and easier, they’ll be happy to use the system.
What is the future of EPI?
EPI has the potential to harmonize payments across Europe, simplify payment experiences for consumers and merchants, and enable the development of new use cases. For the initiative to take off, it must be as competitive as the current alternatives. While efforts and discussions to get the project off the ground are still ongoing, a key priority for the initiative once it enters operational phase in 2022 must be to gain the trust of consumers and traders.
Learn more about PPE in our blog series.