EU banks plot pan-European rival to Visa and Mastercard

A group of 20 European banks are working together on “setting up a pan-European payment system to challenge the dominance of Visa, Mastercard and technology companies such as Google and PayPal,” French news agency AFP reports.

“The Pan European Payment System Initiative (PEPSI) would handle all forms of cashless transactions,” AFP was told.

The idea comes from the European Central Bank (ECB), “which has been pushing for a system to allow Europeans [to] transfer money to each other instantly,” a French banking source “close to the subject” told the news agency.

The ECB was “worried about the sovereignty of payments and explained that it would appreciate if we looked into the issue,” the source added. The project is primarily a “political not a technical initiative,” they said.

“None of the big banking groups contacted by AFP would speak openly about the project,” AFP says. “But several sources told AFP that the participants included most French banks as well as Germany’s Deutsche Bank.”