What we aim for

Our mission is to create a unified payment solution tailored for Europe.

  • EPI stands for “European Payments Initiative”, 31 European banks/credit institutions and 2 third-party acquirers launched this initiative  to create a new pan-European payment solution leveraging Instant Payments and cards.
  • Our innovative solution aims to become a new standard in payments for European consumers and merchants. EPI will bring true value for both retail payments and payments between individuals “peer-to-peer”.
  • Our scope is both euro- and non-euro markets.

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Frequently asked questions

“EPI” stands for “European Payments Initiative” 

EPI is an initiative launched by 31 European banks/credit institutions and 2 third-party acquirers to create a unified, innovative pan-European payment solution leveraging Instant Payments SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) and cards. EPI will offer both a card and a digital wallet to consumers and merchants across Europe.

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”.

EPI shareholders want to bring value to the market by offering an end-to-end payment solution based on the Instant Payment scheme as defined by the European Payments council (EPC), but also offering a card and covering multiple use cases (e.g., merchant payments, peer-to-peer payments, etc.), secure, immediate and easy-to-use.

Europe has now the opportunity to leverage instant payments. This initiative is therefore in line with recent positions from European public authorities urging banks and payment service providers to build a payment solution on top of the Instant Payment scheme and to offer an alternative and independent payment system.

EPI’s objective is to offer a consistent digital payment solution for all major retail use cases (P2P, POS, e- / m-commerce, and cash withdrawal) that can be used anywhere in Europe and to supersede the fragmented landscape that currently still exists. In doing so, EPI founders are responding to merchant and consumer communities that have been calling for payment initiatives to take a more pan-European approach.

EPI will first and foremost benefit European citizens, possibly boosting innovation in the world of payments. About 50% of retail payment transactions in Europe are still done by cash today. The EPI solution will also bring tangible benefits to European merchants, by offering them a seamless, competitive and unified payment solution for Europe being available to all European consumers.

The EPI solution will reinforce competition in the payment services market, currently dominated by a few big international schemes and players. The Covid19-crisis has confirmed the need for digital payment solutions in Europe. Therefore, EPI’s solution offering cards and digital Instant Payments will be ideally positioned to propose choice to consumers and merchants. EPI will offer a consistent solution for all participating countries, positioning as an alternative to existing international solutions.

The very purpose of launching EPI is to enrich the merchants’ and consumers’ choice in terms of payment solutions. EPI as a new and innovative market player may be expected to increase competition both in terms of quality and conditions.

Instant Payments allow the development of a service covering multiple payment use cases (e.g., paying friends & family, paying in a shop, paying online, paying a bill or an invoice), which no other solution offers for the time being.

EPI is open for European market players, individual banks or banking communities, as well as payment service providers to apply and join EPI (during the next window by the end of 2021). For the time being, 31 European banks/credit institutions are involved spanning across 7 European countries together with 2 leading pan-European third-party acquirers.

So far, EPI works as a project company focusing on the implementation and is based in Brussels. The future governance is still under finalization and will be shared with the market as soon as possible.

Like existing international solutions, EPI is being designed as a consistent solution across countries. EPI participants will roll out progressively the EPI solution to their customers.

EPI’s ambition is to become a new standard of payments in Europe, thus offering an independent European alternative. EPI as an emerging scheme intends to pursue collaborative discussions with both international and domestic payment schemes.

The current founding shareholders committed to start the implementation phase of EPI. The beginning of the implementation phase materialized through the creation of an interim company in Brussels, which set out clear deliverables including the completion of the technical and operational roadmap and initiating the implementation work to achieve a best-in-class user experience.

EPI has interacted and continues interacting with European merchant associations to get their feedback on the solution and ensure that the EPI solution will cater for their needs.

EPI Interim Company is planning to implement the CPACE specifications for the roll-out of the EPI card scheme, which will be done once the decision to progress towards the future Holding Company is made, and in coexistence, during a transition period, with the current infrastructures and standards existing in the market today. This is applicable for card (issuing) and POS kernel (acceptance) specification.

Within this context, EPI will implement the official version of the CPACE specifications, embedding card personalization profiles for both EPI stand-alone cards and co-badged implementations.

To facilitate CPACE´s deployment, EPI is working on a certification plan to be used with external vendors that will provide services to EPI members.

Other specifications that EPI might rely on will be communicated to the market in due time.


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