The EU payments market remains fragmented. While many digital payment solutions exist in Europe, most of them, if not from large non-European players, cannot be used across Europe for in-store and e-commerce payments. 

To eliminate this market fragmentation and promote financial innovation, the Commission has identified 4 main policy pillars

  • Increasingly digital and instant payment solutions with pan-European reach 
  • Innovative and competitive retail payment markets 
  • Efficient and interoperable retail payment systems and other supporting infrastructures 
  • Efficient international payments, including payment transfers. 

European initiatives

Several initiatives are underway for common payment solutions, and for more cooperation and interoperability between national payment solutions. 

For example, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), chaired by the ECB, has as one of its priorities the development of a framework for the interoperability of instant payments at the point of interaction (IPs at the POI) to promote the development of pan-European instant payment services. 

ERBP also asked the European Payments Council (EPC) to develop guidance on interoperability, including the standardisation and governance of a SEPA QR code, in the context of the mobile-initiated SEPA (instant) transfer. More and more mobile payment solutions use the QR code to securely communicate merchant identification data (merchant name, etc.) and transaction data (amount, currency, etc.) to the payer (or from the payer to the merchant), so that the payment can be initiated. EU-wide standardisation of the QR code could extend their acceptance, especially for cross-border transactions.

Interoperability, a key topic for Luxembourg

The interoperability of payment solutions is particularly important for Luxembourg, especially in view of its geographical location and its high proportion of cross-border workers. The ABBL and its SEPA working group are closely following European initiatives, in particular for some EPC initiatives in which the ABBL is collaborating.

For more information on the ERPB and the mobile-initiated SEPA (instant) credit transfer initiatives, please contact the ABBL payment team. If you are a member of the ABBL SEPA Interest Group or the SEPA Working Group, you can access this information via the ABBL Membernet.


By Antoine Van den Bulcke, Adviser Payments & Digital