EPC, CSG Update SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume Guidelines

The European Payments Council (EPC) and the Cards Stakeholders Group (CSG) have published version 7.0 of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Cards Standardisation Volume (the SCS Volume), ready for market implementation.

The document defines a standard set of requirements to ensure an interoperable and scalable card and terminal infrastructure across SEPA, based on open international card standards. Public consultation on its provisionary version 6.5 in June and July 2013 saw the CSG process more than 2,000 comments received from market participants.

The six books of the SCS Volume version 7.0 cover a set of requirements applicable to card-present transactions to allow investment decisions and implementation based on stable requirements. All stakeholders and interested parties active in the SEPA cards domain are encouraged to roll out services and products in line with the requirements set out in version 7.0 of the SCS Volume in a three-year period, i.e. by January 2017.

“The European Union [EU] authorities driving forward the SEPA programme identified the need to create harmonised cards standardisation requirements throughout all countries across SEPA early in the process of integrating the market for electronic euro payments,” said EPC chair Javier Santamaría. “In response to these expectations, retailers, vendors, processors, card schemes and the EPC jointly created the CSG which developed the SCS Volume. The version 7.0 of the SCS Volume is a major achievement reflecting a unique multi-stakeholder effort in the area of cards.”

CSG co-chair, Jeremy Massey, added that more than 60 industry experts contributed. “This structure will facilitate future issuing of updated versions of the SCS Volume with amendments only to individual books as required, such as including card-not-present (i.e. mail orders, telephone orders and e- and m-commerce) functional and security requirements,” he said. “The SCS Volume structure also provides for the option to integrate further books addressing aspects other than those reflected in version 7.0.”

Ugo Bechis, chair of the EPC Cards Working Group and CSG co-chair, commented that implementation of common standards requirements detailed in the new volume will promote interoperability and foster competition in the SEPA cards domain.

“The version 7.0 requirements will bring benefits to the planning and stability of investments on terminals and on cards by market players, usually made with a five to seven year perspective and even beyond,” he said.

“Cost savings and stability are relevant in the physical card environment to favour cheaper, easier and broader acceptance both at national and cross-border levels. Once the harmonisation exercise is also concluded on card-not-present requirements, it is expected to promote development and innovation for both e- and m-commerce and e- and m-payments.”

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