EPI: A Payment Champion to Modernize the European Payment Market and Supersede its Current Fragmented State.

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The European Central Bank welcomed the initiative taken by over 30 banks and credit card processors across Europe to create a payment system capable of shattering the current US-dominate oligopoly.

Backed by the European Commission and the euro area’s financial regulators, EPI aims to become a new standard means of card and digital payment for consumers and retailers across Europe by 2022.

Since national payment solution cannot be effectively scaled across EU borders, EPI will be a collective venture which will harmonize the best national initiatives.

EPI was influenced by the fact that two-thirds of noncash payments in Europe were processed by US-based companies such as Paypal, Google, Visa, and Apple creating two major concerns.

Firstly, consumers and merchants were exposed to higher fees. Secondly, a payment market that is controlled outside of Europe may not be fit to support the EU Single Market and Euro, exposing European monetary and financial sovereignty.

Barriers to Entry

The attractiveness of payment schemes is determined by their customer base, and companies such as Paypal already have a well-cemented fan base. Further, US and Chinese-based payment companies hold a large market share within Europe making for a competitive landscape with considerable barriers to entry.

Sources: Financial Times, Reuters