European Mobile Payment Companies Reach Interoperability Agreement

January 3, 2024
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Leading European mobile payment solutions MB WAY, BANCOMAT Pay and Bizum have established a first step towards interoperability.

Leading European mobile payment solutions MB WAY, BANCOMAT Pay and Bizum have established a first step towards interoperability. 

Sibs (MB WAY, Portugal), Bancomat (Italy) and Bizum (Spain), which are all leading mobile payment services companies in their respective markets, have signed a letter of intent to implement interoperability. 

“We believe that interoperability between European mobile payment solutions unlocks the potential of SEPA Instant Payments and establishes the grounds for truly efficient and innovative pan-European payments,” commented Madalena Cascais Tomé, CEO of Sibs.

This agreement, which was established on December 14, aims to enable users to make instant payments using their mobile phone across the three countries.

MB WAY, BANCOMAT Pay and Bizum provide person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-business (P2B) payments. According to the letter, these solutions are used by 42.7m users, who made 1.47bn payments in 2023 across the three countries.

The agreement that has been signed outlines the principles of interoperability between the three and aims to develop P2P interoperability in 2024 as a first step to be followed by other payment use cases in the future.

According to Bancomat’s Oscar Occhipinti, the agreement takes a further step towards European interoperability and specifically in being able to allow Italian customers to carry out a P2P between Spanish and Portuguese customers. 

“We believe that this is the right way to create a true PAN-European alternative network to increase transactions and SCT-INST usage.”

Meanwhile, Ángel Nigorra, Bizum CEO, said that the widespread acceptance of digital payment methods by users is an “unquestionable phenomenon”.

“With this agreement, Bizum aims to create a solution that meets all the payment and collection needs of European citizens, regardless of their country of origin, and for that, interoperability between markets is essential,” said Nigorra. “We hope that this is just the first step for users to have a simple, convenient, secure, and universal mobile payment method for their everyday transactions.”

The interoperability agreement was released on the same day as the European Payments Initiative (EPI) announced that it had executed its first instant payment transactions in Europe with wero between customers from Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne (Groupe BPCE) in France and Sparkasse Elbe-Elster Bank in Germany. 

All Spanish members deserted the EPI project in 2022, as well as German founders such as DZ Bank. 

Going forward, it will be interesting to see whether the interoperability efforts of Bizum and its counterparts in Italy and Portugal will compete with or come together with the EPI solution, considering the EU’s hopes to develop homegrown solutions that can compete with US and Chinese payments players. 

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