The basics of European regulation and public affairs in payments

Comments (0) Payments Events, Payments Regulation

The basics of European Regulation and its impact on the way the payments business is driven by most of the players in the European payments ecosystem were a greatly appreciated and requested topic during the latest edition of the Visa Risk Acceptance Forum, held in London, on 26th-27th of November. This is quite significant in the card-not-present landscape, global but quite biased by regional and local regulations, which does not make much sense.

To tackle this, especially if you are an online player, there are mainly three ways:

  1. First, to care about Public Affairs and engagement with policy-makers for them to understand where the issue lies. And in doing so, to advocate for increasing co-operation between regulators, meaning two different but related things:
    • Co-operation between European local regulators, for the sake of unifying their approach regardless of the location where the transaction takes place;
    • And co-operation between EU and non-EU regulators and policy makers, for the future rules to stick to worldwide and simplified patterns, which might facilitate achieving two goals:
      • Firstly, a level playing field among the different regions around the globe.
      • And, secondly, that in a global environment, such as ecommerce (where there are no borders and there is already too much complexity and plenty of players), the customers are able to have a consistent experience, regardless of the country or region where the transaction takes place.

It is obviously very important to have a Public Affairs strategy. The European policy-making process is quite complex, with an extensive and tricky web of procedures, institutions, and appointed politicians. Therefore, to follow all this up, it’s key to keep up to speed with the procedure by which the rules are approved. This process entails different stages in which policy-makers can receive input from the industry. And depending on which policy-making body we are referring to, the outreach strategy might require a different approach. To this end, Payvision is part of the European Payment Institutions Federation (EPIF), allowing us to be involved in the European legislative process. In Payvision, we see regulation as a real game changer for the payments ecosystem, and it has to be correctly handled for it not to be a stopper for business and for innovation. Being active from a Public Affairs perspective helps us and our partners to disentangle all this complexity.

  1. Secondly, it is important to adopt a holistic approach, covering the whole legislation under which a given company operates, helping to minimize the clearly marked local character of regulation in Europe. This would be a friction-less approach, that may allow operators to land in a number of territories without needing to adjust all their policies and business procedures.
  2. And to end with, I reckon it is also paramount to foster competition and market entries. In Payvision, we believe there’s plenty of space in the payments ecosystem for more market entries. Many local markets are underserved due to few players covering all the demand for efficient and cheap payments. This leads to inefficiencies and to less consumer choice and protection, with expensive and less innovative products. On the contrary, we support the idea of prioritizing competition and widening access for smaller players, so that the industry as a whole may render more innovative services in a cost-effective and transparent manner; one of the moves to make this happen might be to adopt a technologically neutral strategy.

Learn more about the Visa Acceptance Risk Forum event, 2013/2014 editions.

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