2nd May 2014

ECB commences new phase of SEPA

On 29 April, the European Central Bank has published a report called “Card payments in Europe – a renewed focus on SEPA cards” announcing a new phase of the Single Euro Payment Area process. The ECB recalls that SEPA has by now successfully harmonized two payment instruments inside the euro-area, credit transfers and direct debits. However, as stated in the report, the most widely used means of electronic money transfers are credit and debit cards. That is where the attention will now be shifted - to harmonize the principles, rules and technical standards related to card payments. The ECB also welcomed the now discussed drafts of a regulation on card payment fees and a directive on financial services in the internal market, which go in line with the ECB “SEPA for cards” plan. According to the ECB report, the card payment market is largely underdeveloped in some Member States, mainly the Southern and Eastern states. This could constitute a business possibility and the “SEPA for cards” plan on a harmonized, competitive and innovative card payments area should help it.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic