Will PSD2 APIs and instant payments change the game in European payments?

The EU’s Second Payment Services Directive ()—and the Banking Authority’s related Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and Secure Open Standards of Communication—represent a turning point for existing business models in in Europe. PSD2 and RTS open up ’ systems to third-party payments services providers (TPPs) for account information, payment initiation and confirmation of funds via an access interface such as application programming interfaces ().

The final RTS published on 13 March 2018 specifies only the technical framework conditions and not interface standards. To help fill this gap, the Berlin Group—consisting of almost 40 banks, associations and PSPs from across the EU—has defined a common API framework called &;NextGenPSD2&; (current version 1.1) for the use cases specified in PSD2.

The major impacts in this context include:

Payment initiation opens up: For payment initiation, the NextGenPSD2 framework offers, amongst others, SEPA Payments (SCTInst) as a payment instrument. The combination of PSD2 and SCTInst has huge potential to disrupt existing business models, depending on the level of API standardization and penetration of SCTinst in the EU.

Impacts on the cards business: TPPs such as merchants, giants and PSPs could use the PSD2 APIs to make instant payments directly from customer accounts to the TPP bank account, bypassing card schemes and fees.

Frictionless instant payments with PSD2: Customer experience is key in payments. Friction and slowness can reduce acceptance of the payment instrument on both the customer and merchant sides, leading to higher cancellation rates in eCommerce checkout processes and longer queues in the store.

But there are issues with SCA—PSD2 APIs require banks to perform SCA on every transaction. This could lead to friction in the user experience at the point of sale (POS) and in eCommerce. PSD2 provides a convenient way to solve the issue of SCA through inherence and biometrics-based SCA methods. As innovation in this area continues, there will be a huge push towards creating RTS-compliant biometrics authentication methods.

How banks can innovate

TPPs such as tech giants and fintechs are not the only ones that could profit from PSD2 and instant payments—banks could also play an important role. Access to accounts and instant payments become commodity services with low or almost no margin for banks. New revenue opportunities will be in the value-added services and the platform ecosystems around these commodity services. “Going beyond PSD2” will include opportunities to monetize additional data and services combined with instant payments.

Read my complete article at InstaPay for more insights and share your views.

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