European Payments Initiative seeks public funding to take on Visa, Mastercard

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European Payments Initiative (EPI)
European Payments Initiative (EPI)

The European Payments Initiative (EPI), a bank-backed effort to build a rival to Mastercard and Visa in Europe, is appealing for outside funding to get the project off the ground.

Backed by 31 major Eurozone banks and acquirers Worldline and Nets, the EPI is striving to create a unified pan-European payment system, offering a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments.

Expected to enter the operational phase in 2022, the coalition established the EPI Interim Company in Brussels in July last year, with the intention of setting out clear deliverables including the completion of the technical and operational roadmap.

Speaking at an event hosted by the European Payments Institutions Federation, EPI chief executive Martina Weimart said “Public funding would be nice…Let’s not hide it – it’s going to be a massive investment. It’s expensive.”

Weimart told Reuters that retailers are not willing to fund the new initiative, and that banks and other EPI shareholders “can carry only so much”.

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