First Wero Transaction Marks EPI Success

December 18, 2023
The much anticipated European Payments Initiative (EPI) has successfully executed its first instant payment transactions in Europe.

The much anticipated European Payments Initiative (EPI) has successfully executed its first instant payment transactions in Europe. 

Wero, the mobile payment product created by EPI, has initiated the first transactions between customers from Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne (Groupe BPCE) in France and Sparkasse Elbe-Elster Bank in Germany. 

“Today marks a significant achievement for EPI and for the European payments landscape as a whole,” said Martina Weimert, CEO of EPI. 

The inaugural transaction, worth €10, was sent on Thursday (December 14) from a German account to a French account via the payment solution. 

Wero will eventually be integrated into the applications of EPI’s member banks, in addition to being available as a standalone mobile app on both Android and iOS platforms.

EPI’s ambitions

The EPI is an initiative backed by 16 European banks and merchant service providers to progressively build a payment solution tailored for Europe. 

The coalition leverages instant account-to-account payments infrastructure available in Europe to improve efficiency and remove intermediaries in the payment process.

Further, it aims at enabling next-generation payments for consumers and merchants in Europe across all types of retail transactions via a wallet. 

EPI initially plans to support person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-professional (P2Pro) payments, followed by online and mobile shopping payments and then point-of-sale payments, while combining them with attractive value-added services in the future.

The initiative has had plenty of issues and is not the first of its kind either —  for example, previous projects such as Monnet. 

It began in 2020 with momentum, including from regulators at the European Commission and European Central Bank. 

However, cynicism about the project emerged after banks pulled out and original plans for a card solution were abandonned.

Weimert herself previously requested regulators instigate a “regulatory pause” to help the project get off the ground. 

Further, the launch comes at a slightly delayed pace, with Weimert having said in 2021 that the EPI will launch its instant payments service and begin to delve into e-commerce in 2022. 

Looking ahead now, EPI has said it plans to extend the use of wero to the first pilot users within its member banks in Belgium, France and Germany in the new year.

“I thank the dedicated teams for their relentless pursuit of this accomplishment,” said Weimert. 

“We have now launched our concrete journey of delivering all kinds of payment use cases and related services to the market and are moving towards our goal of changing the way Europe pays.”

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