Euro Alliance of Payment Schemes
The Euro Alliance of Payment Schemes (EAPS) is an international alliance of European bank and interbank networks with the aim of creating a pan-European debit card system. The Brussels-based consortium, formally announced in July 2007, includes such members as Electronic Cash in Germany, PagoBancomat/Bancomat in Italy, Multibanco in Portugal, EURO 6000 in Spain, LINK in the United Kingdom and EUFISERV, an ATM system operated internationally by the European Savings Banks Group. Though not allying itself with EAPS, the European Central Bank spoke in February 2007 in favor of the work being done by EAPS as "the first step towards a consolidation of card schemes, leading to a European card scheme". Prior to the implementation of the EAPS alliance, only MasterCard/Maestro and Visa/V Pay debit cards could be used abroad in Europe. EAPS was first initiated particularly to challenge MasterCard's hold on international debit payments.
According to European Card Review in 2007, EAPS was expected to play a less pivotal role in spreading the Single Euro Payments Area initiative than larger schemes such as the "Falkensteiner Group" which they believed to include UniCredit, Société Générale, ING and Deutsche Bank, but was nevertheless capable of a "marginal" role. The "Falkensteiner Runde" (Falkensteiner Circle) - according to the Lafferty Group to consist of ABN AMRO, Allianz Dresdner, ING, Rabobank, UniCredit, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale and Commerzbank - is discussing an alternative interbank network based on the German girocard network joined by the French Carte Bancaire network. About the same time in early 2007 another initiative was formed in the "PayFair" company in Brussels to implement the European Payment Scheme. This effort is building an infrastructure from scratch focussing at first to rebuild the POS (i.e. non-bank) infrastructure in Belgium and Netherlands as of 2008 and it is expanding to Germany during 2010 via "easycash" terminals. Founded in 2008, the "Monnet Project" was unveiled in Frankfurt in 2009 listing the same members as reported earlier on the Falkensteiner Circle. Later reports cite these three elements - Monnet Project, PayFair scheme, EAPS council - as the driving forces behind SEPA-centric alternatives for debit card networks.
Meanwhile the EAPS announced the bilateral cooperation of ATM interbank networks, namely the German Girocard acceptance at Italian Bancomat ATMs, Italian Bancomat card acceptance at German Girocard ATMs and German Girocard acceptance at UK LINK ATMs. Independently the European savings banks had created the pan-European EUFISERV network to mutually accept debit cards at their ATMs - Eufiserv is a founder of the EAPS council.
On May 5, 2010 the Monnet Project held a meeting in Madrid to endorse a European Card Project. From the 30 banks that were attending it occurred that 12 banks from 8 countries volunteered to join a consortium phase to detail the technical requirements and to prepare treaties on the foundation of a new bankcard payment company. The ECB has welcomed these steps pointing the China UnionPay example that a new bankcard brand can quickly gain acceptance (the CUP is now accepted in 29 European countries plus 60 more countries worldwide) Before the end of 2010 the results of the consortium phase shall lead into a definite decision to build a new bankcard infrastructure.
- Press release, card-alliance.eu. (November 2007) Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- SEPA for cards on way to reality in Europe. (23 May 2007) atmarketplace.com. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- About, EUFISERV official site]
- Tumpel-Gugerell, Gertrude, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB Colloquium. (February 13, 2007) The European Central Bank's view on SEPA bancaditalia.it Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Kenny, Peter. (June 21, 2007)Banks announce low overseas debit withdrawal thriftyscot.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Wissenbach, Ilona. (June 20, 2007) European banks agree corssborder Mastercard rival Reuters. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Debit cards: pressure continues for third scheme in Europe (2007) European Card Review. Retrieved 2008-08-04 Archived July 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "PaySys SEPA Newsletter - Jan. 2008"
- "SEPA: Changing times for payments", Deutsche Bank Research, July 27, 2009
- PayFair news, "22 Sept 2009 - EasyCash, key PayFair partner in Germany" Bergisch Gladbach
- "PROJET MONNET - Une vingtaine de banques européennes prévoient de créer un nouveau système de cartes bancaires en Europe", press release, 6. May 2010
- "A grand scheme", Interview with EAPS board chairman Ugo Bechis, by Ronan McCaughey, 1. January 2010
- "Infobrief SEPA – Euro-Zahlungsverkehr - Nr.12", May 2010
- "SEPA for cards: more than a symbol of SEPA’s success", Speech by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the Monnet Symposium organised by The Monnet Project, Madrid, 5 May 2010