Will the European banks strike back?

27/12/2016

| 27-12-2016 | Hans de Vries |

europe Last November The European Payments Council (EPC) launched the single euro payments area (SEPA) instant credit transfer (SCT Inst) scheme. The scheme will be live in November 2017 and allows the European banks to propose innovative, digital, and fast payment solutions to their customers. The EPC describes the SCT Inst scheme as “a world first, enabling individuals, businesses, corporates and administrations to make instant euro credit transfers between accounts across an international area that will progressively span over 34 European countries. This new scheme is a revolution for the traditional 9 to 5/ weekdays only operating banks. Will it also block the way to relative newcomers like Paypal? Will the banks seize this opportunity and strike back?

As a result of the internet experience, banks had to deal with the fact that their systems were not able to cope with the subsequent demands of the 24/7 demands of the retail market. Paypal attacked the weakspot of the banks by introducing their worldwide internet banking solution. Downside of this approach is of course the fact that the consumer had to first open and credit their Paypal accounts, before they were able to use  this payment method. And of course the merchants had to support this payment method as well and find ways to collect their funds. As an alternative creditcard payments were implemented and local solutions like I-Deal in the Netherlands, Mister Cash in Belgium etc. All these alternatives had their ups and downsides looking at costs and reachability. Most important value of these solutions were that the Merchant was to some extent sure that he received the funds before delivering the goods. And it worked both ways, the consumers were also sure that the goods would be delivered as soon as the transaction was finished.

With the upcoming introduction of the SEPA instant credit transfer scheme, as announced by the EPC last month, this whole picture is about to change. The EPC describes the SCT Inst scheme as “a world first, enabling individuals, businesses, corporates and administrations to make instant euro credit transfers between accounts across an international area that will progressively span over 34 European countries. This implicates that the consumers can directly debit their accounts and instantly transfer their funds to their beneficiaries all over Europe with the same effect as the current local schemes like I-Deal. This means that Internet Merchants all over Europe are by now reachable for the total European consumer market. Of course it will take some time before all banks are able to support this service and are also able to provide the consumers as well as the Merchants with the tools to obtain the information real time. However, the PSD2 regulations will certainly support this development and the FINtech industry will make sure that the information flows are connected to allow for flawless operations. By implementing the SEPA instant credit transfer scheme the European banks are able to recover lots of grounds they lost uptill now to external parties like Paypal: the banks will strike back! And they will have to in order to survive in today’s world.

hansdevries-150x150Hans de Vries – Treasury/ Cash Management Consultant

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