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Major european banks get serious about building a Mastercard and Visa rival


Today it seems we have America, China, and then “the others” – increasingly Europe wants to change that narrative …


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The European Payments Initiative (EPI), a bank backed joint venture that aims to build a European rival to Mastercard and Visa, has put out a Request for Information (RFI) for ‘qualified technical partners’ to help it start building its central payments infrastructure.


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Backed by 31 major Eurozone banks and acquirers including Worldline and Singapore based Nets the EPI wants to “create a unified pan-European payment system” that doesn’t include the two giants and create what could become the world’s first viable rival service, including digital wallets and peer to peer payments, for the hundreds of millions of consumers and merchants across Europe.

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

EPI is currently assessing how the necessary central infrastructure could be obtained, or built, and how best it should be operated, “to sustain all the necessary scheme functions and needs, as well as the solution needs of the technical entity, in relation to the payment products EPI intends to deploy”.


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“In particular, determining the financial aspects of the different options for the setup, and the run of the central infrastructure is critical for allowing proper decisions and choices,” says the EPI.

The RFI will be used to establish a longlist of potential participants who will then be invited to submit a formal Request for Proposals later this year.

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