Worldline and Nets join European Payments Initiative firm

Worldline and Nets have become shareholders of the European Payments Initiative (EPI) Interim Company, the first non-banks to join the effort that seeks to take on the likes of Mastercard and Visa.

In July 2020, a group of 16 major European banks from five countries - Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain - paved the way for the future launch of the European Payments Initiative, by announcing the creation of the EPI Interim Company in Brussels.

The ambition of EPI is to create a unified pan-European payment solution that offers a card for consumers and merchants across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments - covering in-store, online and cash withdrawal transactions as an alternative to existing international payment solutions and schemes.

“The joining of third-party acquirers will greatly contribute to the expansion of EPI’s acceptance network on the merchant side in Europe and will allow EPI to build up its own payment ecosystem on the continent,” said the EPI Interim Company.

Other “well-progressed” expansion talks are ongoing with additional “various players”, added the company.

Gilles Grapinet, chairman and chief executive of Worldline, said: “Worldline warmly welcomed the launch of the European Payments Initiative by 16 major banks earlier this year, and consequently gladly accepted their invitation to join the EPI interim Company as the first non-bank acquirer.

“Almost 20 years after the introduction of the euro the moment has come to join forces in a collective effort to provide consumers and merchants with a truly European digital payment solution, carefully designed for the business needs of the 21st century.”

Bo Nilsson, group chief executive of Nets, added: “As a pan-European PayTech leader, and with our origin in one of the most digitised regions in the world, we look forward to becoming a significant contributor to designing and establishing a successful EPI platform.”

EPI Interim Company has also announced the appointment of Joachim Schmalzl as chairman of the board and Martina Weimert as chief executive of the company.

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