Interview with Paul Alfing
Chairman of the e-Payments committee of Ecommerce Europe
Beyond SEPA: have organizations still problems, and what are the differences for retail organizations?
There are no big issues after the migration to SEPA, the migration went surprisingly well. Of course, there are some issues (for example IBAN-discrimination), but also missed opportunities. The best example of that is the electronic mandate. Even now with SEPA, Europe is still in need of a pan-European e-mandate. This would be especially helpful for retailers selling services online.
How can we encourage further integration of the European payments sector?
For further integration it is crucial that systems and solutions are interoperable on a European scale. A good start for that is a uniform European protocol for mobile identification and authentication. This protocol should be used by parties on the supply and demand side in the market and this will support a true uniform cross-border market for mobile payments. And a proposal with concrete steps to harmonize the e-mandate.
What, in your opinion, are the new opportunities of the European payments landscape beyond SEPA?
All new opportunities within Europe are depending on the scale of interoperability and harmonization. The biggest barriers now for pan-European success are national regulations. Yes, on paper there is one European market but in reality selling cross-border means also adopting to all cross-border legal habits. Facing and fighting that fragmentation, is the greatest opportunity for the European payments landscape.