The 16 institutions from Germany, France and other EU countries are pushing to create such a pan-European system for payments at the cash register and on the internet, the ECB said on Thursday. The so-called “European Payment Initiative” should encompass all euro countries and ultimately the entire European Union, said ECB Director Fabio Panetta. This could strengthen the position of European providers.

The ECB has long been calling for more efforts to make Europe less dependent on international providers in payment transactions. So far, for example, it has not been possible to develop a competitive uniform alternative to the major US credit card providers Mastercard and Visa in the field of card payments. In addition, financial institutions are now facing new competition from mobile payment services of large technology groups such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

According to the banks involved in the initiative, the new payment system is scheduled to be launched in 2022. The goal is to create a new standard, they said. The plan is to offer consumers and merchants in Europe a card for payment, but a digital wallet is also part of the project. All forms of payment will be covered – payment at the shop counter as well as online payment. The participating banks include Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, the French financial institutions Societe Generale and BNP Paribas, and the Spanish banking group Santander.