European Payments Initiative to pilot digital wallet for instant P2P payments in Germany and France

UNIFIED PAYMENTS: The EPI plans to pilot the digital wallet in Germany and France by the end of 2023

The European Payments Initiative (EPI) is to begin piloting a digital wallet that will enable users to make instant person-to-person (P2P) payments in Germany and France as a first step towards rolling out a unified payment system that will support “a comprehensive range of transaction types” across Europe.

The news comes as the initiative — which was originally set up with investment from more than 30 banks and acquirers — has also confirmed its planned acquisitions of Belgium-based payment solution iDeal and Luxembourg-based payment solutions provider Payconiq will go ahead subject to confirmation by national and European authorities.

Four additional banks — Belfius, DZ Bank, ABN Amro and Rabobank — have also become shareholders in the initiative, joining BFCM, BNP Paribas, BPCE, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, DSGV, ING, KBC, La Banque Postale, Nexi, Société Générale and Worldline, to bring the total of shareholding partners to 16, the EPI says.

Payment ecosystem

“EPI is positioning itself as the common solution and innovation platform of the European payment ecosystem. It will serve as a foundation for the fulfilment of the European Commission’s and European Central Bank/Eurosystem’s pan-European retail payments strategy and a further catalyst to enhance Europe’s position as a global leader in payment innovation,” the initiative says.

“EPI will initially enable person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-professional (P2Pro) payments, followed by online and mobile shopping payments and then point-of-sale payments.

“A comprehensive range of transaction types will be supported, including one-off payments, subscriptions, instalments, payments upon delivery and reservations. Additionally, value-added services will be incorporated into the solution over time, including responsible buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) financing, digital identity features and integration of merchant loyalty programmes.

“The EPI digital wallet with P2P payment functionality will be launched for the first users in a pilot phase by the end of 2023 across two countries: France and Germany.

“A broader market launch in Belgium, France and Germany will happen in early 2024. These markets together represent more than half of all non-cash payments in the euro area.

“Expansion to other European countries will follow.”

Plans to set up the pan-European payments system were first revealed in November 2019 and the EPI announced that the original partner banks and acquirers had invested a total of €30m in the project by May 2021.

European Payments Initiative to pilot digital wallet for instant P2P payments in Germany and France was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.