In June 2021, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), a high-level strategic EU body fostering the integration, innovation and competitiveness of euro retail payments in the European Union, invited the European Payments Council (EPC) to take up the role of scheme manager for the SEPA API Access scheme in relation to payment accounts.

In November 2021, EPC accepted the ERPB proposition and set-up a dedicated multi-stakeholder group (the SPAA MSG) to develop the future scheme. The SPAA scheme will cover business requirements, governance arrangements and a standardised API interface where PSD2 constitutes the baseline and, beyond, the premium services related to payment accounts are provided under a fair distribution of value and risk for the stakeholders. Examples of potential ‘premium’ services include IBAN validation, real-time payment execution guarantee.  

This SPAA scheme  builds on investments done in the context of PSD2 and is in line with EU legislation.

The EPC acceptance was conditional on the interest of the EU market to support them in this highly responsible new role. It was. The market responded positively and promptly.

This is the case of the Luxembourg SEPA community supported by the ABBL which decided to financially support the EPC, to follow the activities and contribute to regular consultations of the SPAA MSG. 

This new SPAA scheme will be the basis for other API schemes for financial services beyond payments and eventually for services beyond finance. For this, a good cooperation with the main European standardisation initiatives active in the field of “PSD2 APIs” is expected. It should ensure to stay in line with the scheme's functional requirements and the respective API specifications.

The SEPA Payment Account Access  is a cornerstone of an API economy that will unlock value through new disruptive services and customer journeys. 

As Arturo González Mac Dowell says so well (Tink), "it is a stepping-stone towards ‘open finance’ beyond payments and ‘open data’ beyond finance".

Article by: Antoine Van den Bulcke - Adviser – Payments & Digital