Friday, June 30, 2006

BCG report suggests regulators to hold their horses on their 2010 ambition to phase out national products in Europe

See this press-release on BCG's 8th report: Global Payments 2006. In which specifically the EU-comments are quite sensible:
The report says that the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), the legislation intended to harmonize European payments platforms, will bring measurable benefits to consumers and is worth the investment that European banks must make — an estimated €500 million— to meet the requirement of bringing pan-European payments capability alongside domestic schemes by 2008. But the next step in SEPA, the expected elimination or conversion of all domestic schemes by the end of 2010, will require roughly €5 billion in additional investment with little additional benefit. Full migration to the SEPA standard by 2010, the report says, will in fact decrease efficiency and possibly reduce functionality by compelling banks, payments processors, and corporations to adopt pan-European products and to discard highly-efficient domestic ones.

“The bottom line is that pushing for the full SEPA concept to be achieved by the end of 2010 will actually destroy value,” says Nick Viner, a senior vice president in BCG’s London office and lead author of the report. “A far more workable solution would be to allow payments players to invest in the full SEPA requirements in line with their natural investment cycles for IT infrastructure, cards, terminals, account engines, merchant contracts, and related elements.”

But would the regulators really want to hold their horses and listen to this?