In July 2020, a consortium of European banks launched the European Payments Initiative (EPI) in a bid to create a unified payment solution for consumers and merchants across Europe. The EPI is looking to solve a problem that other initiatives have failed to solve before – the lack of a pan-European offering to rival established players such as Mastercard and Visa; emerging digital providers, including Apple Pay, PayPal, and Stripe; and the consolidated regulatory networks found in the United States or China. Seven countries are currently on board with the EPI: Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, and, interestingly, Poland, a non-euro-currency country.
European banks have historically pursued national schemes. But such schemes have been on the decline as banks hitch their card offerings to providers with a global payment infrastructure. There is now a vision and a desire to make a homegrown, pan-European payment solution work. A poll carried out by G+D and Netcetera during a live webinar found that half of 100 industry experts believe the EPI will primarily strengthen the European payment industry to compete against other regions, such as North America. Many also believe it will lower costs for both banks and consumers.