Tuesday, January 21, 2003

MOB-meeting at the central bank....!

It may appear strange to outsiders but the MOB are having a meeting at the central bank tomorrow. MOB stands for "Maatschappelijk Overleg Betalingsverkeer" and means that it is a group with a lot of representative organizations that have to do with payment services. All kinds of retailers will be represented (shopkeepers, petrol stations, restaurants etc) as well as thuiswinkel.org (representing distance selling organizations), representatives of banks, the Dutch Association for banks and of elderly people and visually impaired.

This constitution and meeting of the MOB is the implementation of one of the suggestions made by the central bank as a part of the work of the so called Working on Tariff Structures and Infrastructure in Dutch Payment Systems systems (Group Wellink). The basic idea is to have a structural forum where representatives of interest groups can meet to discuss the relevant issues in payments services. Other suggestions of the central bank were:

• the introduction by the banks of the possibility for private customers to choose between different tariff structures;

• continued research into the public efficiency of pos payment instruments as a basis for policy aiming at optimum efficiency in the retail payment market;

• contracting for corporate debit card services,including networking services,to the banks;

• the creation within Interpay of a users ’advisory group on the use of debit and prepaid cards;

• improving the transparency of Interpay by having it provide more detailed information in its external reports;

• the inclusion in Interpay ’s Supervisory Board of independent experts in order to improve corporate governance.

See for further background information the article at p 37 of this Quarterly Bulletin.

The first meeting of the MOB effectively means that the previous Working Group on Efficiency in Payment Systems will cease to exist. But the agenda items will remain more or less similar and constitute issues such as: safety, availability of cash and bank services, introduction of a service that will make changing banks easier etc. Apparently, some of the most ' burning issues': market structure and fees for debit-card authorizations (both at POS and at the ATM) will not be discussed tomorrow. But perhaps those are saved for a rainy day....

Finally, our foreign readers may not be fully aware of it, but the meeting of the MOB takes place at the same day we have parliament elections. The elections were all about ' new politics', openness and a new way of public debate. I hope that the MOB will start to function in a similar spirit and decide in its first meeting to publish agenda items, reports, results and draft meeting notes on the web.