A unified instant payment solution to be used throughout Europe
At the time of its creation in July 2020, EPI had a clear ambition: offer a digital account-to-account payment solution that can be used anywhere in Europe, based on instant transfer technology. This ambition is becoming a reality, as by the end of 2023 a pilot for person-to-person instant payment will be launched first in Germany and France. The major launch will happen in 2024 in Belgium, France and Germany – note that this area accounts for more than half of the non-cash retail payments in the Eurozone.
The commercial launch is planned for 2024 and will be extended to other European countries later. Initially, it will be a person-to-person digital wallet - under a single European brand - for all everyday payment uses, which will be enhanced by other innovative services to improve the customer experience. The target will also be extended to consumer-to-business payments, online shopping and then to point-of-sale payments. In France, the implementation of this payment solution will rely on the more than 30 million subscribers to the “Paylib entre amis” service offered by BNP Paribas.
Two acquisitions to strengthen European sovereignty in the payments sector
With the acquisition of Currence iDEAL, a leading payment scheme in the Netherlands, and Payconiq International (PQI), the Luxembourg-based payment solutions provider, EPI will be able to leverage the expertise of major players in their markets to build and deploy a unified and innovative pan-European payment solution that meets the expectations of consumers and merchants. It should be noted that the agreement with the respective shareholders of Currence iDEAL and PQI remains subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities.
Martina Weimert, CEO of EPI Company : « EPI is delighted to welcome Currence iDEAL and PQI. Together, we will join forces to realise EPI’s vision as we build an innovative solution based on a new, unified instant payment scheme and platform for Europe. EPI will leverage the strong operational experience, know-how and local market knowledge of these companies. We are developing a new, scalable platform to address the modern and evolving payment needs of European consumers and merchants in the best way ".
Four new partners to support European sovereignty in payments
In addition to the current shareholders that make up the EPI, four new shareholders have joined the initiative: Belfius and DZ Bank since the end of 2022 and ABN Amro and Rabobank, which together with ING have boosted the presence of the major Dutch banks. For the historical shareholders, BFCM, BNP PARIBAS, BPCE, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, DSGV, ING, KBC, La Banque Postale, Nexi, Société Générale and Worldline, this is a further step towards ensuring European sovereignty in payments.
"We welcome this agreement which demonstrates the collective determination to build the best solution for customers and to ensure our European sovereignty in payments. This is an ambition that BNP Paribas has supported and shared since the genesis of EPI".
These announcements position EPI as the central innovation platform for the European payment ecosystem. EPI will thus serve as the basis for the realisation of the European Commission and European Central Bank/Eurosystem’s retail payment strategy, in order to consolidate its position as world leader in innovations in this sector. The aim is to ultimately deliver more value to customers and greater efficiency through direct and instantaneous payments between bank accounts.
BNP Paribas, founding member of the European Payments Initiative
The EPI European Payments Initiative, of which BNP Paribas is a founding member, was created in 2020 with the ambition of creating a unified and innovative pan-European payment solution for consumers and merchants across Europe.