Thursday, March 11, 2004

The cost of payments: a balancing act

Yesterday, the Dutch bank sector organised a conference to inform all players in the payment industry about recent and upcoming developments. It proved to be an informative and constructive day during which both cash-issues (falsifications) and e-payments (direct debit on internet, EMV) were discussed by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Consumer Union, retailers, banks, central bank and Interpay.

Quite some time was spent on the discussion of costs in retail payments, Euro-falsifications and solutions to make payment systems in the Netherlands more efficient. And at the end of the conference, central bank director Jaap Koning presented the results of joint research (done by the Social Platform on Payments) into the costs of retail-payments at the point of sale.

In brief, the costs amount to 2,9 billion Euro in 2002, with a considerable potential for savings if we use the debitcard for payments of a value of € 11,63 and more and chipknip for the lower value payments. See the full report (in Dutch) at the DNB-website.

Essentially the conference may have been a break-through on the old fee-for-payment transactions discussion. Even the Consumer Union was willing to discuss under which conditions introduction of fees could best be done. So we may look forward to a complicated but successful balancing act on this issue.