Feeds

Euro banks unhappy with proposed e-payment rules

Tighter security and fewer fees would interfere with the 'business model'

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The European Payment Council has taken issue with a number of the European Commission's proposals to try to make direct debits and credit transfers across the continent easier and cheaper.

The council, which is a group of European banks and financial institutions helping to standardise e-payments, is unhappy with the changes to the process of creating a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) that will allow money to move freely around the Eurozone.

The EPC has been getting its members ready with the technical specifications they'll need to get all their payment systems to talk to each other, but the upcoming SEPA regulation, which will give a mandatory deadline to the alignment process, has rubbed the banks up the wrong way.

The Commission is mulling over whether to get rid of mandatory fees for direct debits, have two deadlines – one for credit transfers and one for direct debits – and introduce mandatory checks on direct debits.

The council claims the new rule gives the Commission unprecedented control over payment systems, which have traditionally been decided by market forces. In other words, it doesn't want regulations to decide how payments work, it wants whatever people will pay for and the banks are willing to provide to be the deciding factors.

"It is neither warranted or efficient that business rules and technical standards are defined and evolve by law," the chair of the EPC and executive at ABN AMRO Gerard Hartsink said in a presentation response to the proposed regulation.

"Self-regulation by banks in the past 30 years has created and maintained effective, secure and stress-resistant payment systems."

The group also insists that getting rid of "transaction-based multilateral interchange fees" – a fee paid between the two banks or payment service providers for cross-border direct debits – will interfere with its individual firms' business models.

"Payment service provision is a commercial offering; a viable business model is needed," Hartsink said.

If the commission won't remove the ban on fees, the council wants a "sunset clause" added, which would mean the fees were gradually phased out.

"This would enable banking communities to develop new direct debit business models," the EPC said in a canned statement.

The banks are also opposed to mandatory checks on direct debits, which they say will push up the price of direct debits for the consumer and turn people back to less efficient payment methods because the system will become more complex.

One of the aims of the SEPA is to bring down the cost of moving money around the Eurozone and the EPC says mandatory checks will defeat this aim, although this doesn't come up in its argument against abolishing direct debit fees, saying only that it's "not in consumer interests".

Another aspect of the draft SEPA regulation indicates a need to review the EPC's governance, which the council insisted misrepresented it.

The assistant general manager of Banco Santander Javier Santamaría, who also chairs a SEPA payment scheme working group at the EPC, said that the EPC should not be part of a legislative text.

"The EPC is a private initiative and we don't wee why a private initiative should be represented in a legislative document," he said.

He added that though the council had developed its payment schemes in response to the European Central Bank and the European Commission, it was still a separate and private group.

The council is currently the subject of a European Commission antitrust investigation over allegations that it was stopping non-bank payment providers from entering the market for payment service provision.

It said during the presentation that while its intention was "to be as open and transparent as possible in its communications with its stakeholders and the media", it wouldn't be commenting on the investigation. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.