Voice of the Industry

Mobile payment: Southern Europe moves towards interoperability

Monday 8 April 2024 09:12 CET | Editor: Oana Ifrim | Voice of the industry

Andréa Toucinho from Partelya Consulting delves into the interoperability agreement among major European mobile payment solutions.

An historic agreement has been signed within the European payments ecosystem. Local players Bancomat (Italy), Bizum (Spain) and SIBS (Portugal) announced in the final of 2023 an agreement aimed at ensuring the interoperability of their respective mobile payment solutions Bancomat Pay, Bizum and MB Way.

2024 will be an interesting year for European sovereignty. In addition to European Payments Initiative (EPI) project with the launch of the wallet Wero in France, Germany and the Benelux countries, the South of Europe is also moving towards a strong project of interoperability. The alliance between Bancomat Pay, Bizum and MB Way will allow users from Italy, Spain, and Portugal to make instant transfers between the three countries in an easy and secure way. But that’s not all. 

Cross-border interoperability in the South of Europe

This agreement also aims at building the foundations for the development of a collaborative way to address the cross-border interoperability issues in the south of Europe. Thus, it is important to remind that the three payment solutions represent 42.7 million users and 1,470 billion payments in 2023 in the three countries. According to the Italian player Bancomat, this initiative is linked with the works of the European Mobile Payment Systems Association (EMPSA), that represents 90 million users of mobile payment and hundreds of European banks. 

According to the Portuguese player SIBS, this initiative is also important to allow the 5 million users of MB Way to receive and send money via an Italian or Spanish mobile number. Thus, it is important to remind that interoperability between MB Way and Bizum has been mobilising discussions for some time within the payment ecosystem of the Iberian Peninsula, since some Spanish and Portuguese professionals have noted some expectations among consumers of the two countries for cross-border uses of these two solutions. 

P2P as a first step

The first stage of this project is based on P2P and is to be launched in 2024. Other use cases will follow and may address both online and proximity payments. According to these three players, this agreement represents an important step for European interoperability and will unlock the potential of SEPA instant payment and establish the foundations for innovative and efficient pan-European payments. In fact, the goal is to contribute to the development of a strong and robust pan-European payment market and to enable interoperability among existing European payment solutions, taking advantage of SEPA instant payment standards and the capabilities of existing mobile payment solutions. But, if the first purpose is the interconnection of the three solutions, the involvement of other European payment solutions in also identified in later stages of the initiative. 

Nevertheless, it is important to remind that this regional agreement is similar with the EPI project, and with the position of the Nordics, that already have a common strategy in the field of payments with for instance P27 model. Thus, one of the main questions remain, today, how these measures, certainly promising in terms of harmonisation of the European payments ecosystem, will converge and what will be the relation between this initiative in the South of Europe and similar projects like EPI, whose first steps of launch are expected in 2024.

About Andréa Toucinho

Expert in payments and financial services, Andréa Toucinho is the Director of Studies, Prospective and Training of Partelya Consulting and Country Ambassador for France of the European Women Payments Network (EWPN). She published several editorials about payments as the representative of two national fintech associations – AEFI Spain and AFIP Portugal.



About Partelya Consulting

Partelya Consulting is a French consulting company specialising in payments. Created in 2008, it works with all actors in the market, from banks to schemes and retailers, on technological, strategic, and regulatory issues. The company is a member of the French Association du Paiement, and it contributes to several projects linked with payments and innovation.

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

Keywords: mobile payments, interoperability
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: Partelya Consulting
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech

Partelya Consulting

Discover all the Company news on Partelya Consulting and other articles related to Partelya Consulting in The Paypers News, Reports, and insights on the payments and fintech industry:

Industry Events