The Single Euro Payments Area: New Alliances Required to Tip the Market

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Jürgen Bott

When it was originally proposed, the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) was hailed for its potential to contribute significantly to making Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010.

All national payments standards were supposed to disappear and be replaced by new SEPA standards, which would allow additional economies of scale and scope. After six years of intensive work on developing SEPA, however, and roughly 18 months before SEPA was due to have been completed (end of 2010), this ECRI Research Report finds that the SEPA process is in a crisis. The banks and their customers are reluctant to migrate to the new SEPA standards and some banks and banking associations are not persuaded that the benefits attributed by the European Commission to SEPA will materialise. The author, Professor Dr Jürgen Bott of the University of Applied Sciences of Kaiserslautern, argues that incentives are necessary to motivate service providers and users to change their current behaviour and to migrate to new service standards.