Thursday, October 08, 2015

Now that the voting on the PSD is done, the real work starts...

The second Payments Services Directive, also known as PSD2, will be officially established today. In the plenary session discussion yesterday all political groups backed the achieved consensus and highlighted the benefits to consumers, the increased security of payments, further innovation in the payments area and lower cost overall.

Some work ahead...
We should realize however, that with the promulgation the real work will start for a whole range of involved players. First and foremost, there is a lot more work ahead for regulators and supervisors in the transposition process, but in particular also for the European Banking Authority. The PSD2 that seeks to open up access to banks and customer bank accounts for new players, leaves quite a bit of work to be done by EBA.

EBA should:
- develop rules on level of guarantee/professional indemnity insurance for payment initiation service providers and account information service providers,
- set up standards for cooperation and data exchange between local supervisor and resolve disputes on different applications of the PSD2,
- set up a central register of payment institutions and agents licensed under the directive,
- develop regulatory standards that define when the appointment of a central local contact point can be demanded by local supervisors and what its functions should be,
- be informed immediately in the case of emergency situations (such as large scale fraud),
- coordinate requirements as to the security frameworks applied,
- specify the requirements of common and open standards of communication to be implemented by all account servicing payment service providers that allow for the provision of online payment services,
- develop guidelines on a harmonised set of information to be provided during the application for a payment institution license,
- publish local exemptions under article 3k and 3l in the public register,

Clarity for industry on EU-application of definitions and scope
When the first PSD was delivered, it turned out that quite some players in the market required timely insights as to the future scope of the directive and how it would impact them. The European Commission then published an FAQ that further outlined how definitions should be understood.

It seems to me that it would be worthwhile to perform a similar exercise right now as there are quite some areas that can give rise to questions. As an example: the recital on the agency exemption leaves open the existence of agents for both buyer and supplier as long as the agent does not enter into posession of the funds. Yet, the definition of acquiring appears to be purposefully wide, meaning that such commercial agents might after all be viewed as acquirers.

The sooner this clarity is provided, the better it is, as the lead time for setting up and getting a license as a payment institution is similar to the lead time that now exists for transposing the PSD2.

I therefore hope that, for the sake of a proper EU level playing field, the collective of regulatory players involved in the transposition and application of the PSD2, will seek to address those scoping and definitions issues early-on.