In November 2018, the pan-European platform TIPS (TARGET Instant Payment Settlement) was launched for the real-time settlement of instant payments, i.e. transfers that are settled within a few seconds of the transaction being made. The cost per transaction is € 0.002. But, as Fabio Panetta, member of the Executive Committee of the ECB said, speaking at the Payments Forum of the Finnish Central Bank: “Digital payments are sometimes offered to the public at one euro per transaction. This must change ”. Pennetta called for the creation of a European system of digital payments which, in order to become more accessible, must also reduce the cost of transactions: “Europe remains very dependent on a few foreign credit card and online payment providers, with the result of a high market concentration “. In this sense, “a fundamental priority of our payments strategy is the development of a European solution (…) with a European brand and governance and global diffusion as long-term objectives”. Panetta praised the launch of the European Payments Initiative (EPI) which has, for the moment, 20 European banks, but laments a delay in progress on this front. As regards Italy, it should be remembered that, with the legislative decree n. 218/2017, the necessary measures were introduced for the transposition of European Union directives on payment services in the European Union and interchange fees on payment card transactions. As the latest Italy Eurispes 2021 report specifies “The decree has adapted national legislation to the EU regulation relating to interchange fees on card-based payment transactions by setting a limit: for payments by debit and prepaid card, the interchange fee for each transaction payment cannot exceed 0.2% of the value of the transaction itself; for credit card transactions, it cannot exceed 0.3% of the transaction value “. Furthermore, “To promote the spread of electronic payment instruments, the prohibition on applying a surcharge for the use of a specific payment instrument (so-called prohibition of surcharges) is confirmed”. Of course, when calculating the costs, interchange fees and scheme fees must be considered: the former constitute the share of the commissions paid to the bank that issued the payment card, the latter, on the other hand, identify the share paid to the circuit on which the payment is made. transaction: The final effect is that commissions vary from just under 1% to over 2%. “Too much:” Payments must neither be excessive nor hidden from consumers. Instant payments have to be cheap and simple to become the new normal ”. In the meantime, work on the digital currency continues at the ECB: “We are preparing the future also with our work on the digital euro. It will guarantee Europeans access at no cost to a secure form of digital currency, which will respect privacy and rules, with the possibility of using it anywhere ”.
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