Ecommerce Europe’s EU elections recommendation: Build an innovative and competitive cross-border payment landscape


Choice of payment solutions and convenience at check out will be key drivers for the growth of e-commerce in Europe in the coming years. Ecommerce Europe supports the development of a competitive and innovative European payment landscape that can foster the development of solutions fit for the future of retail.

Tomorrow’s payment solutions should address certain key challenges, such as:

  1. Give the necessary tools to merchants to adapt to evolving consumer expectations and find the right balance between the need for seamless – almost invisible – experience and security. In times when technology has become integrated into consumers’ daily life, payment solutions should adapt to the development of mobile and omnichannel commerce. The development of internet of things and connected devices will reinforce these trends and will require innovative payment solutions to maintain smooth checkout experiences.
  2. Challenge established players and foster competition by driving down costs of payment solutions for merchants
  3. Address the challenges created by the fragmentation of the European payments landscape through the development of pan-European solutions

During this mandate, important legislation and initiatives have seen the day. For instance, in November 2017, we saw the launch of the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme, an initiative aimed at easier and faster payments on a pan-European scale; the Payment Services Directive 2 entered into application in January 2018; and the accompanying Regulatory technical standards on Strong Customer Authentication will apply as of 14 September 2019. These changes, in addition to complementary legislation on cross-border charges and so on, will slowly, but surely, re-shape the European payments landscape.

But further work is needed to make these initiatives successful and ensure that we rapidly move towards more harmonized, more competitive and innovative European payment market.

Firstly, on technology. Policymakers need to continue their work to foster the development and uptake of new technology in Europe, while being mindful of the risks of over-regulating specific technologies such as Artificial Intelligence. Policymakers should also accompany the uptake of eID and Trust services solutions in the private sector to boost security, convenience and trust in the European cross-border e-commerce market.

Secondly, there needs to be a common effort from regulators and the industry. From an e-commerce perspective, a well-functioning, competitive European payments market is essential to ensure the development of innovative, cost-effective and secure solutions that European online merchants need in order to grow, but also remain competitive worldwide. This can be achieved only through cooperation, so that established and new players can make the most of the framework created by building blocks like PSD2 and SEPA SCT Inst.

European regulators called for the development of European payment solutions and more effort to address the problem of fragmentation in the EU in the card payment landscape and the instant payments landscape. Now all the stakeholders need to engage in this direction and cooperate to create a truly competitive and innovative European payments market.

Read all Ecommerce Europe’s   EU elections recommendations here.