A new pan-European payment solution is on its way – both consumers and merchants want smooth payment methods

Europe is developing a whole new payment method that will offer both card payments and mobile wallet. OP Financial Group is bringing Finnish expertise to the innovative European Payments Initiative (EPI).

Teksti Antti Karhu, OP:n maksuliikepalveluista vastaava johtaja
Julkaistu 6.5.2021

Who wouldn’t want easy payments – whether in-store, peer-to-peer, online, when travelling or wherever you are? Wouldn’t it be nice to stop asking “Is this payment method ok for you?” or “Do you have this or that mobile payment app?”

A multitude of payment methods are already available. On the American-dominated markets, some long-term incumbents are being challenged by Asian newcomers in particular. Then there are several national solutions. From the European point of view, however, I’d say the payment environment looks fragmented.

To ensure European competitiveness, we need an efficient, unified and widely used digital payment method. That is why major European banks have joined forces to develop a new payment solution combining a payment card and a mobile wallet.

Our aim is to create an appealing, safe and smooth pan-European payment instrument that will be easy to use in all types of retail transactions. The initiative is linked to strategic goals of the European Union and the European Central Bank. We’re on the same page about what’s best for consumers, retailers and market efficiency.

This innovative development effort is known as the European Payments Initiative or EPI. The EPI is set to become the new payment standard on the European consumer and retail market. It will be an alternative to existing international payment solutions and national mobile payment solutions that work only in individual European countries.

Wide availability and usability across borders

Card and mobile payments are here to stay. The Finnish retail sector has said it would welcome new payment alternatives, especially straightforward and efficient ones. The EPI could meet these needs admirably.

Wide usability in physical and online stores will be critical to the EPI’s development. Consumers will expect the best customer experience from the very start. To beat the competition, the new solution must be outstanding.

OP Financial Group has a strategic interest in developing payments. Development must be unrelenting if we are to continuously provide competitive products for customers, retailers and businesses. That’s why, as a founding shareholder of the EPI, we are part of this broad-based development effort.

Commerce recognises no borders: under normal circumstances, cross-border transit of people and goods should be frictionless. So an innovative payment method that works solely in Finland isn’t enough – we want to create innovations on the European scale.

Everything from your own bank

The Finnish and Nordic market is interesting from the European perspective. Here, card payments account for the bulk of transactions and cash is seldom used. We’re quite handy people and our expertise can be put to good use.

So why not be part of a solution that will benefit people in Finland too? With our expertise, we can help to ensure that the new payment solution is outstanding for all Europeans.

The year 2021 is crucial for the EPI, which is currently in the interim company phase. If everything falls into place, we might see the first signs of EPI services in 2022.

OP is willing to invest and play a major role in EPI development work. A large number of OP specialists are currently involved and we feel that we are participating in a major development.

After all, what could be better than your own bank providing everything you need for easy payments? What a fantastic idea!