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EU banks contemplate rival to card schemes and Big Tech

Twenty European banks are reportedly working on the development of a rival payment system to challenge the dominance of Visa and Mastercard and the threat from Chinese and US Big Tech firms, according to a report by AFP.

The Pan European Payment System Initiative (Pepsi) would handle all forms of cashless transactions, sources told the newswire.

Carlo Bovero, global cards and retail payments manager at BNP Paribas, alluded to the plans during a conference organised by the banking magazine Revue Banque in Paris.

Bovero said banks “representing a big part of Europe” were involved in the discussions.

Several sources told AFP that the participants included most French banks as well as Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

In April, a senior executive at Deutsche Bundesbank called on the banking sector to develop a pan-European mobile payments platform capable of competing with systems from Big Tech giants from the US and China.

Similar noises have emerged from the European Central Bank in the payment cards market, which is dominated by US schemes Mastercard and Visa. The ECB has long-floated the idea of a home-grown cross-border scheme capable of taking on the big brands, but so far without success.