Monday, June 30, 2003

It's almost July 1.....

Tomorrow, the cross-border bank transfers in euros (applicable to transfers in euros of up to €12 500) within the EU will cost the same as domestic transfers. This measure is being introduced in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euros. Yet, although this sounds great, we should note that:

- in order to qualify for equal charges, customers must provide their bank with the beneficiary's IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code).

Here lies an interesting challenge for banks/consumers/companies. I'm pretty sure that the next month's we'll hear quite a lot of incidents/anecdotes about the practical problems. The public may expect the regulation to apply anyhow, regardless of the use of IBANs/BICs. The actual IBAN's may be hard to figure out sometimes (especially if calcualted by software, some errors may occur...) etcetera.

Meanwhile, card organisations are also in the playing field. Supposedly Visa Direct should be up and running now (see this press release) but I found no evidence for that. Similarly Mastercard's MoneySend should do the same: provide card holders with an easy and cheap opportunity to transfer money among EU-states to other consumers.

So, we now not only have the above P2P payment mechanisms, but also Paypal, Way2Pay, Certapay, C2it, Let's see how that market develops.