Carrying a virtual train ticket or repaying a friend with your mobile phone, buying your groceries online, paying with your debit card abroad – the way European citizens shop and pay is radically changing. A secure and transparent integrated payments environment throughout the EU could create more efficient, modern and safer means of payments – for the benefits of consumers, merchants and payment providers. Based on the Green Paper consultation adopted today, the Commission seeks 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 11 April 2012.
Electronic payments are essential for every consumer, either when buying something at the points-of-sale or while shopping on the internet. Throughout the EU, more than 700 million payment cards are in use, e-commerce is offering tremendous opportunities and the number of smart phones is increasing at a dramatic rate. The Green Paper analyses the obstacles which hinder European market integration in these promising payment technologies.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel 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”.
Vice President Joaquín Almunia added: “Inefficient payments systems within the European Union unduly raise transaction costs; undermine the global competitiveness of the European economy and limit its potential for growth. Europe’s consumers, merchants and companies deserve payment services in tune with the 21st century: transparent, with genuine value-added and making the best use of our technologies.”