In Europe, how citizens shop and pay is radically changing. From debit cards to mobile phones, Europeans are deploying variety of electronic technologies to make payments when traveling, buying groceries, making online payments or purchasing tickets.
For the benefits of consumers, merchants and payment providers, the European Union is looking for a secure and transparent integrated payments environment to create more efficient, modern and safer means of payments.
For that, the European Commission is planning to integrate the market for cards, Internet and mobile payments, and has established Green Paper consultation, which is being published jointly by Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier and Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia.
PYMNTS.com reports that newly formed Green Paper consultation is seeking the views of stakeholders as to which obstacles hinder further market integration and how these could be resolved. The deadline for submitting contributions to the consultation is April 11, 2012, as per the report.
In 2009, according to the Commission, some €59-billion (US $75.14 billion) worth of total retail payments were made in the eurozone and there was very little integration across member states and platforms of payments. Now, reports PYMNTS.com, the EU wants to rationalize the market and increase the playing field for new entrants.
In a statement, Internal Market and Services Commissioner Barnier, said, "Europe has an opportunity to be at the cutting edge of what ‘making a payment’ could mean in the future. However, we will not be able to reach this goal with the current level of market fragmentation. Secure, efficient, competitive and innovative electronic payments are crucial for consumers, retailers and companies to fully enjoy the benefits of the Single Market as well as to drive the growth of e-commerce. The consultation we are launching today is fully in line with the Commission's mandate focusing on growth and job creation and building on the achievements already made in the field of retail payments."
The main issues being addressed are market access and entry for existing and new service providers, payment security and data protection, transparent and efficient pricing of payment services, technical standardization, and inter-operability between service providers.
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