E-money proposals

Consumers to benefit from electronic payments directive

E-payments could revolutionise how we pay for smaller items

Brussels, 11th February 2009 — A new directive on electronic payments could help the market revolutionise how we pay for smaller items, John Purvis MEP, rapporteur on the proposals in the European Parliament said today after the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee adopted his report.

Types of electronic money include online payment accounts, pre-paid mobile phone accounts, a top-up travel card or a gift voucher. In July 2007 e-money issuers in the EU carried €1053 million, compared to €670 million in 2005.

One of the largest industries taking advantage of e-payments is the casino industry. The online casino phenomenon is everywhere and it revolutionized the way people gamble and pay online. Some of the most popular payment methods among gamblers are InstaDebit, Skrill and Neteller (in that order).

The directive seeks to make it easier for smaller operators to enter the market by reducing the amount of initial capital needed from €1 million to €200,000. It will also enable providers to extend the outlets where the e-payments can be made so that, for example, a company offering e-payments for transport services could also enable the consumer to purchase a coffee or newspaper.

Mr Purvis said:

“The demand for electronic money has grown at a fast pace in recent years, but with the right regulation we could see a revolution in how we pay for smaller valued items.

“The new rules we have adopted will make it easier for entrepreneurs and businesses in other sectors such as transport to offer e-money services. The potential benefits to the consumer could be vast, with payment cards and mobile phone handsets used as an alternative to a purse or wallet.

“E-money institutions will be able to offer a wide range of payment services that are not viable at the moment.”