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EPI: The European Payments Initiative

Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Valencia – 25 November 2020

In July 2020, a group of 16 major European banks from five countries (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain) paved the way for the future launch of the European Payments Initiative, by announcing the creation of the EPI Interim Company in Brussels, responsible for initiating the implementation of the joint payment initiative.

The ambition of EPI is to create a unified, innovative pan-European payment solution leveraging Instant Payment/SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst), which offers a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments. The solution aims to become a new standard in payments for European consumers and merchants across all types of retail transactions including in-store, online, cash withdrawal and “peer-to-peer”, as an alternative to existing international payment solutions and schemes.

Today, EPI Interim Company is glad to announce that Worldline and Nets[1]are joining as shareholders of the recently created company, as the first third-party acquirers to join the initiative. The joining of third-party acquirers will greatly contribute to the expansion of EPI’s acceptance network on the merchant side in Europe and will allow EPI to build up its own payment ecosystem in the continent. Other well-progressed expansion talks are also ongoing with various players.

Gilles Grapinet, Chairman and CEO of Worldline, commented: “Worldline warmly welcomed the launch of the European Payments Initiative by 16 major banks earlier this year, and consequently gladly accepted their invitation to join the EPI interim Company as the first non-bank acquirer. Almost 20 years after the introduction of the Euro, the moment has come to join forces in a collective effort to provide consumers and merchants with a truly European digital payment solution, carefully designed for the business needs of the 21st century. As Europe’s leading Payment Service Provider for POS and E/M Commerce, Worldline intends to actively contribute to the definition of the necessary success factors for the future roll-out of EPI”.

Bo Nilsson, Group CEO of Nets, commented: “The European Payments Initiative will benefit the entire payments ecosystem in Europe. All stakeholders including issuers, acquirers, merchants and ultimately the end-consumers will gain from a strong and truly European digital payment solution. As a pan-European PayTech leader, and with our origin in one of the most digitised regions in the world, we look forward to becoming a significant contributor to designing and establishing a successful EPI platform. Based on modern payment technologies and capabilities, we will strive to make payments easier for merchants, banks and consumers across Europe”.

EPI Interim Company is also glad to announce the appointment of Dr. Joachim Schmalzl as chairman of the board and Martina Weimert as CEO of the Interim Company.

Dr. Joachim Schmalzl is an executive member of the board of the umbrella organization of the German Savings Banks (Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband). In this position, he is responsible for developing and driving forward the group's Business Model, Digitization, and Payments strategy. 

As a partner at Oliver Wyman, Martina has been supporting European banks since the beginning of the initiative and has gained in-depth experience in payments working for 16 years on numerous issuing and acquiring solutions, in European and international markets and for all kinds of players of the payments ecosystem.

About: The European Payments Initiative (EPI) aims to create a unified pan-European payment solution. Its founding members are so far:


Press contacts:

Press contact BBVA:

Carmen Maria Alvarez Diez: +34 620915706 – Email: m.alvarez@bbva,com

Press contact BNP Paribas:

Servane Costrel de Corainville:  +33 6 74 81 98 27 - servane.costreldecorainville [at] bnpparibas (dot) com

Press contact Groupe BPCE:

Christophe Gilbert: + 33 (0)1 40 39 66 00 – Email: christophe.gilbert [at] bpce (dot) fr

Press contact CaixaBank:

Media Relations Department: +34 93 404 48 41 – Email: prensa [at] caixabank (dot) com

Press contact Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Deutscher Sparkassen-und Giroverband, DZ BANK Group :

Stefan Marotzke, Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband (DSGV): +49 (0)30 20 22 55 110 – Email: stefan.marotzke [at] dsgv (dot) de

Press contact Crédit Agricole:

Nadège Cartei (Crédit Agricole Payment Services ): +33 (0) 1 43234362 – Email: nadege.cartei [at] ca-ps (dot) com

Press contact Crédit Mutuel

Stéphanie Glémot: +33 (0)1 53 48 87 85 – Email : stephanie.glemot [at] creditmutuel (dot) fr

Press contact ING:

Daan Wentholt: +31 (0)6 21 32 50 84 – Email: Daan.Wentholt [at] ing (dot) com

Press contact KBC Group:

KBC Group NV

Havenlaan 2 – 1080 Brussels

Viviane Huybrecht

General Manager

Corporate Communication/Spokesperson

Tel. +32 2 429 85 45

Press Office

Tel. +32 2 429 65 01 Stef Leunens

Tel. +32 2 429 29 15 Ilse De Muyer

Tel. +32 2 429 32 88 Pieter Kussé

E-mail: pressofficekbc [at] kbc (dot) be

KBC press releases are available at or can be obtained by sending an e-mail to pressofficekbc [at] kbc (dot) be

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Press contact La Banque Postale:

France Plasse: +33 (0) 1 55 44 22 24 – Email: france.plasse [at] laposte (dot) fr

Victor Labrusse: +33 (0) 1 55 44 22 42 – Email: victor.labrusse [at] laposte (dot) fr

Press contact Banco Santander:

Patricia Colino: +34 615.90.74.88 – Email: pcolino [at] gruposantander (dot) com

Press contact Société Générale:

Florence Amphoux: +33 (0)1 42 14 70 33 – Email: florence.amphoux [at] socgen (dot) com

Press contact UniCredit:

UniCredit Media Relations: Email: mediarelations@unicredit

Press contact Worldline:
Hélène Carlander: +33 7 72 25 96 04 – Email: helene.carlander [at] worldline (dot) com

Presse contact Nets Group

Søren Winge, Head of Press Relations Nets: M (+45) 29 48 26 46 – Email: swing [at] nets (dot) eu


  1. ^ [1] Validation by the EPI Board foreseen in the next days.

BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 71 countries, with approximately 199,000 employees, of which more than 151,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance.

In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the European leader in consumer lending.

BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model in Mediterranean countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific.

Groupe BPCE, with its business model as a universal cooperative bank represented by 9 million cooperative shareholders, is currently the 2nd-largest banking group in France. With its 105,000 employees, it serves a total of 36 million customers – individuals, professionals, corporates, investors, and local government bodies – around the world. It operates in the retail banking and insurance sectors in France via its two major Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne banking networks, along with Banque Palatine. With Natixis, it also runs global business lines specializing in Asset & Wealth management, Corporate & Investment Banking, Insurance and Payments. Through this structure, it is able to offer its customers a comprehensive, diversified range of products and services: solutions in savings, investment, cash management, financing, and insurance. The Group's financial strength is recognized by four financial rating agencies: Moody's (A1, outlook stable), Standard & Poor's (A+, outlook negative), Fitch (A+, RWN) and R&I (A+, outlook stable).

CaixaBank is the leading financial group in retail banking in Spain and one of the top banks in Portugal, where it controls 100% of BPI, as well as the market leader in cards and payment solutions through CaixaBank Payments & Consumer. The group, chaired by Jordi Gual and with Gonzalo Gortázar as CEO, has 15.4 million customers and the largest commercial network in Spain and Portugal with more than 4,300 branches, and is a leader in innovation with the largest base of digital customers in Spain (7 million). CaixaBank has developed projects that have marked technological milestones in the sector, such as the first commercial roll out of contactless and mobile payment systems in Europe, the creation of the first contactless ATMs in the world, the introduction of ATMs with facial recognition technology and the development of the first artificial intelligence applications for customer services. CaixaBank is also committed to a socially-responsible model of universal banking, based on quality, customer service, and specialisation with a tailor-made value-proposition for each segment. Its goal is to contribute to its customers' financial well-being while supporting the progress of society as a whole.

Commerzbank is a leading international commercial bank with branches and offices in nearly 50 countries. The Bank’s two business segments – Private and Small-Business Customers and Corporate Clients – offer a comprehensive portfolio of financial services precisely tailored to their customers’ needs. Commerzbank transacts approximately 30% of Germany’s foreign trade and is the market leader in German corporate banking. The Bank offers its sector expertise to its corporate clients in Germany and abroad and is a leading provider of capital market products. Its subsidiary mBank in Poland is an innovative digital bank. The integration of comdirect enables Commerzbank to combine the services of one of Germany’s most advanced online banks with a personal advisory offering at local level. The Bank serves around 11.6 million private and small-business customers nationwide and over 70,000 corporate clients, multinationals, financial service providers, and institutional clients worldwide. Its Polish subsidiary mBank S.A. has around 5.7 million private and corporate customers, predominantly in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 2019, Commerzbank generated gross revenues of €8.6 billion with approximately 48,500 employees.

The Crédit Agricole Group is the leading partner of the French economy and one of the largest banking groups in Europe. It is the leading retail bank in Europe as well as the first European asset manager, the first bancassurer in Europe and the third European player in project finance.

Built on its strong cooperative and mutual roots, its 142,000 employees and the 30,000 directors of its Local and Regional Banks, the Crédit Agricole Group is a responsible and responsive bank serving 51 million customers, 10.5 million mutual shareholders and 900,000 individual shareholders.

Thanks to its universal customer-focused retail banking model – based on the cooperation between its retail banks and their r elated business lines –, the Crédit Agricole Group supports its customers’ projects in France and around the world: day-to-day banking, home loans, consumer finance, savings, insurances, asset management, real estate, leasing and factoring, and corporate and investment banking.

Crédit Agricole also stands out for its dynamic, innovative corporate social responsibility policy, for the benefit of the economy. This policy is based on a pragmatic approach which permeates across the Group and engages each employee.

Crédit Mutuel is a mutual and cooperative group exclusively owned by its members, who are also its customers. The group is made up of 18 regional federations and one agricultural federation of Crédit Mutuel as well as numerous specialized subsidiaries, essentially offering financial services. These main subsidiaries are Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel, CIC, Assurances du Crédit Mutuel, Euro-Information, Banque Européenne de Credit Mutuel, Cofidis Participations, Fortunéo, Suravenir, Targobank and La Française. As of January 1, 2020, it had 34.2 million customers, 8 million members, 83,000 employees and 5,535 points of sale.

Deutsche Bank provides retail and private banking, corporate and transaction banking, lending, asset and wealth management products and services as well as focused investment banking to private individuals, small and medium-sized companies, corporations, governments and institutional investors. Deutsche Bank is the leading bank in Germany with strong European roots and a global network.

Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband (DSGV – German Savings Banks Association) is the umbrella organisation of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (Savings Banks Finance Group). The Savings Banks Finance Group comprises more than 500 member institutions. They form a close network of specialised service providers, rather than a consolidated group. The Savings Banks Finance Group is particularly strong in the provision of finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. With more than 200,000 employees, 13,000 branch offices and 92.0 Mil. savings, current and security accounts the Savings Banks Finance Group is the market leader in Germany in private and corporate banking.

The DZ BANK Group forms part of the German Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken cooperative financial network, which comprises around 850 local cooperative banks and is one of Germany’s largest private-sector financial services organizations measured in terms of total assets. Within the cooperative financial network, DZ BANK AG functions both as a central institution for all cooperative banks in Germany and their around 9,400 branch offices and as a corporate and investment bank with a growing European and selective Asian presence. DZ BANK has branches in London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as subsidiaries and representative offices in key financial centres throughout the world.

ING is a global financial institution with a strong European base, offering banking services through its operating company ING Bank. The purpose of ING Bank is empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business. ING Bank’s more than 55,000 employees offer retail and wholesale banking services to customers in over 40 countries.

ING Group shares are listed on the exchanges of Amsterdam (INGA NA, INGA.AS), Brussels and on the New York Stock Exchange (ADRs: ING US, ING.N).

Sustainability forms an integral part of ING’s strategy, evidenced by ING’s leading position in sector benchmarks by Sustainalytics and MSCI and our ‘A-list’ rating by CDP. ING Group shares are included in major sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index products of leading providers STOXX, Morningstar and FTSE Russell.

KBC is one of the leading financial groups in Europe. It is an omnichannel bank-insurance group with a geographic focus on Europe, catering mainly to retail clients, SMEs and local midcaps. The group occupies significant, and in many cases leading positions in its core markets of Belgium, Central and Eastern Europe, and Ireland. The KBC group has also selectively established a presence in a number of other countries and regions around the world.

KBC, employing 42,000 people and serving11 million customers worldwide, is one of the largest companies in Belgium and is listed on Euronext Brussels.

La Banque Postale, together with its subsidiaries including CNP Assurances, a subsidiary of the La Poste group, operates in the retail banking, insurance, corporate banking and asset management markets. La Banque Postale supports its customers – private individuals, businesses, professionals, non-profits and the local public sector – with a comprehensive range of accessible services. As a local bank, La Banque Postale is the leading lender to local authorities and has an extensive branch network in France with more than 17,000 contact points, including 7,700 post offices. It is also developing a digital offering, especially through fully-mobile Ma French Bank. As a bank dedicated to serving the community, and a pioneer in responsible finance, La Banque Postale is charged with a public service mission of providing access to banking services.

 La Banque Postale in numbers:

- 10.5 million active customers

- 1.5 million people given access to banking services

- 1.6 million financially vulnerable customers

- 685,000 private banking customers

- more than 350,000 corporate and local public sector customers 

- 1st world bank in the "public and regional banks" sector (according to the ISS-ESG)

                                                         Data at end-2019.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Banco Santander had a trillion euros in total funds, 146 million customers, of which 21.3 million are loyal and 38.3 million are digital, 11,900 branches and 195,000 employees.

Societe Generale is one of the leading European financial services groups. Based on a diversified and integrated banking model, the Group combines financial strength and proven expertise in innovation with a strategy of sustainable growth. Committed to the positive transformations of the world’s societies and economies, Societe Generale and its teams seek to build, day after day, together with its clients, a better and sustainable future through responsible and innovative financial solutions.

Active in the real economy for over 150 years, with a solid position in Europe and connected to the rest of the world, Societe Generale has over 138,000 members of staff in 62 countries and supports on a daily basis 29 million individual clients, businesses and institutional investors around the world by offering a wide range of advisory services and tailored financial solutions. The Group is built on three complementary core businesses:

  • French Retail Banking which encompasses the Societe Generale, Crédit du Nord and Boursorama brands. Each offers a full range of financial services with omnichannel products at the cutting edge of digital innovation;
  • International Retail Banking, Insurance and Financial Services to Corporates, with networks in Africa, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and specialised businesses that are leaders in their markets;
  • Global Banking and Investor Solutions, which offers recognised expertise, key international locations and integrated solutions.

Societe Generale is included in the principal socially responsible investment indices: DJSI (World and Europe), FTSE4Good (Global and Europe), Euronext Vigeo (World, Europe and Eurozone), 4 of the STOXX ESG Leaders indices, and the MSCI Low Carbon Leaders Index.

For more information, you can follow us on Twitter @societegenerale or visit our website

UniCredit is a simple successful pan-European Commercial Bank, with a fully plugged in CIB, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive client franchise. UniCredit offers both local and international expertise to its clients, providing them with unparalleled access to leading banks in its 13 core markets through its European banking network: Italy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another 18 countries worldwide.

Worldline [Euronext: WLN] is the European leader in the payments and transactional services industry and #4 player worldwide. With its global reach and its commitment to innovation, Worldline is the technology partner of choice for merchants, banks and third-party acquirers as well as public transport operators, government agencies and industrial companies in all sectors. Powered by over 20,000 employees in more than 50 countries, Worldline provides its clients with sustainable, trusted and secure solutions across the payment value chain, fostering their business growth wherever they are. Services offered by Worldline in the areas of Merchant Services; Terminals, Solutions & Services; Financial Services and Mobility & e-Transactional Services include domestic and cross-border commercial acquiring, both in-store and online, highly-secure payment transaction processing, a broad portfolio of payment terminals as well as e-ticketing and digital services in the industrial environment. In 2019 Worldline generated a proforma revenue of 5.3 billion euros.

At Nets, we see easier products and solutions as the foundation for growth and progress – both in commerce and society. With headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, and more than 4,000 employees located across Europe, we help financial institutions, businesses and merchants across Europe make tomorrow a little easier for their customers while delivering unrivalled security and stability. Powering payment solutions for an easier tomorrow.