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Card schemes in Europe: Consolidation or proliferation?
Although the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) will bring about consolidation in the payments industry in Europe in general, this does not apply to the number of payment schemes. There are nearly as many payment card schemes as there are countries in Europe. But it is not a foregone conclusion that these are likely to disappear and be replaced by two or three pan-European schemes. Some card schemes will undoubtedly disappear, but at the same time there are many contenders, both new and existing, with the will and the resources to become meaningful players in the European payments landscape. Their proliferation is being reinforced by a tendency of both the card issuer and the card acquirer sides to broaden the portfolio of brands on offer to cardholders and merchants, respectively. At the same time, card payment schemes will undergo a paradigm shift as non-card payment instruments converge with card payment systems to create hybrid networks.
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Ernst Verbeek is Managing Director of Trionis, the company that was separated from the EUFISERV scheme to become a brand-neutral interbank switch processor for point-of-sale (POS) and automated teller machine transactions, jointly owned by European banks and their processors or associations. He previously worked for First Data, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in Western Europe. During 2006, Mr Verbeek oversaw the completion of the acquisition of Gesellschaft für Zahlungssysteme mbH (GZS), Germany’s leading processor of cashless card-based payment transactions, and the integration of the business into First Data’s EMEA organisation. He also had responsibility for TeleCash, a leading POS terminal and network services provider in Germany, and for First Data’s acquisition of APSS, later renamed First Data Austria. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from INSEAD in France.