Thursday, September 22, 2005

P&S News 26: selected readings

Payments and Settlement News Nr 26 can be read here and contains links to:
- a good comparative overview of interchange fees in countries (it's different everywhere and we can't really explain why...),
- a link to the CapGemini World Payments report with the impact of SEPA for banks; not really a super report, but it could have been worse,
- an announcement of pricing change at Paypal, making it clear that Paypal is in direct competition with other micropayments mechanisms for digital content,
- the French regulators Card monitor 2004 which actually contains a very good overview of fraud statistics and developments,
- another speech of Commissioner McCreevy on regulation.

And I should say, it's the speeches of McCreevy that make my eyes water:
Now, my focus is firmly on making it work. Regulation, if it is not implemented effectively and enforced responsibly, is useless. Much remains to be done on this front. The EU single market can only develop effectively if actors understand the need for cooperation and regulatory convergence, and work together to find common rules. And to stick to those rules once they have been agreed.

The emphasis should not only be on speed of transposition, but also on quality. Ensuring a level playing field is the key to Europe’s success. For this, the day-to-day implementation of EU rules should be done in a consistent and coherent way. The Commission is determined in its efforts to ensure that European market players can enjoy all the advantages that the EU regulatory framework offers them.

Now if McCreevy were only to apply these words to his own impact assessment for the new legal framework for payments in the internal market. That is really a piece of work that has few analytical qualities, if any. It serves to back a harmonisation of payment rules in Europe in order to stimulate a level playing field and competition in a truly European market. But as I see it, the actual impact/effect of the proposed laws will be that it will become exterme costly to be in payment business. High prescribed levels of consumer protection and the costs of supervision will have to be bourne by providers. And by raising the overall costs, the number of payment service providers in Europe will decrease rather than increase. And competition will be less rather than more.

Another day in the life of Europe....