Nexi Wins Partnership With Irish Payments Project

July 6, 2022
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Ireland’s first instant mobile payment service, Synch Payments, has announced that it is partnering with Italian payments system Nexi as its platform and service provider.

Ireland’s first instant mobile payment service, Synch Payments, has announced that it is partnering with Italian payments system Nexi as its platform and service provider.

Consumers and merchants in Ireland are due to soon have the choice of using Synch, a mobile payments app developed by the country’s banks in response to the rise of challengers such as Revolut.

It has now been announced that part of the project will be delivered by Nexi, which has risen to become one of Europe’s largest fintech ventures since it emerged from a rebrand in 2017 (formally known as ICBPI), and subsequent merger with fellow Italian payments company SIA.

SIA manages EBA Clearing’s pan-European SEPA payments, including its instant payment service, RT1. In 2014, SIA launched Jiffy, a mobile payments solution that enables peer-to-peer (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) payments, available to its European partner banks.

The Irish mobile app, which has been dubbed Yippay, is being developed through a joint venture owned by Bank of Ireland, AIB, Permanent TSB and KBC Ireland.

“Synch was established with a view to addressing rapidly evolving customer expectations and to align with mobile payment developments in Europe,” Inez Cooper, managing director of Synch, told VIXIO. “Over the past two years, we’ve all witnessed the rapid growth in the mobile payments market in Ireland.”

Cooper, who has previously worked in consulting, as well as for Irish credit institution Avantcard, pointed out that people in the country have become increasingly comfortable paying for goods and services in shops and restaurants with a contactless payment via mobile.

“The Synch app will provide a secure, instant and frictionless experience for consumers while also ensuring a seamless connection directly to their existing banking provider, delivering efficiencies for businesses.”

She argued that it will revolutionise the mobile payments sector in Ireland, enabling consumers to make instant person-to-person payments using just their phone number irrespective of who the recipient banks with.

“They will also be able to use the app to make point of sale and e-commerce payments. No need to provide card details on the website or produce plastic in-store.”

Synch recently secured authorisation from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

This means that it will be able to trade and pave the way for the company to move its attention fully toward launch planning for the new app.

Although Cooper would not be drawn on an exact timeline for the app, nor on what steps come next, she did say that the decision published by the CCPC enables Synch to proceed with its plans to launch the mobile payments app at the earliest opportunity.

“With CCPC approval to trade we are now moving forward and are putting in place the critical elements that will build the foundation of our payments service here in Ireland,” she said.

“Central to this is partnering with a trusted and established paytech leader who will bring their experience, innovation and proven track record on service to the Irish market for the benefit of Irish consumers and merchants, as well as all payment service providers that are licensed to join the service.”

As the selected provider, Nexi has already demonstrated its credentials in the mobile payments sector with its Jiffy platform powering mobile payments service BANCOMAT Pay in Italy.

Emiliano Imbimbo, digital issuing products chief at Nexi, told VIXIO: “We were the first in Italy to develop and launch a P2P and P2B service via smartphone with Jiffy, and today we feel really very proud of being selected by Synch and are eager to support the financial institutions and payments service providers that will join Synch to deliver an instant mobile payment solution for Ireland.”

Adding: “This is a further, important recognition of Nexi‘s capabilities to launch innovative initiatives by leveraging our know-how, expertise and people, and also contributing to accelerating the development of digital payments in Europe.”

Commenting on the development of instant payments in Europe, Imbimbo argued that it “rank[s] as one of the most disruptive innovations in the payments arena, gaining increasing popularity across Europe thanks to efficiency and timeliness”.

However, take-up has not happened as swiftly as regulators wanted, with the European Commission due to propose legislation on the matter this autumn. At an event last week, Eric Ducoulombier, the mandarin leading the commission’s payments work, said that progress had “plateaued”.

“Based on proven infrastructures, instant payments today already count towards millions of euros transacted per year,” said Imbimbo. “Given this context, the real challenge set by instant payments is now entirely shifted to user-experience optimisation. This will be the enabler of new and diversified use cases.”

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