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Thibault de Barsy, General Manager of the Emerging Payments Association EU, started proceedings with an overview of a recent study on the trends in European payments.
Lessons learned include that while regulation does cover the entire European Single Market, payment behaviours and preferences still differ largely within individual countries and regions. Overall, cash is being replaced by debit and credit cards, which are in turn being replaced by e-wallets and digital currencies. While the US and China offer plenty of innovative approaches, Europe’s diverse landscape has led to different examples of best practice all over the continent.
Simon Black, CEO of PPRO, covered some of the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the payments industry: a large increase of smaller merchants, and customer behaviour pivoting to online purchases in a way that will likely remain beyond this crisis. There is a crucial need for strong cybersecurity and IT investments in the payments industry, according to Simon.
Karen O’Sullivan, Head of Innovation, Payments, Market Infrastructures and Governance at the CSSF, gave a wide-ranging overview of upcoming regulatory topics, including everything from the level of harmonisation within the EU for PSD2 to the upcoming regulatory changes on virtual assets. She also had a positive prediction for the market: no new legislation – only amendments to fit new technologies.
Live polls taken during the event showed that for most people, harmonisation is still a work in progress, with the majority of audience participants believing it will take over 5 years before there is a single European payments market.
A lively Q&A session with the audience ended the event, covering everything from views on the European Payments Initiative, consequences of the rise of deferred payments schemes, and the panellists personal favourite payment methods.