ECB publishes new framework for electronic payments

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council has approved a new oversight framework for electronic payments following a public consultation.

The central bank said the framework is designed to make the current and future payments ecosystem “safer and more efficient,” and is part of its statutory task to promote the smooth operation of payment systems.

The Eurosystem oversight framework for electronic payment instruments, schemes and arrangements (PISA framework) replaces the current Eurosystem oversight approach for payment instruments and complements the Eurosystem’s oversight of payment systems.

The Eurosystem will use the new framework to oversee companies enabling or supporting the use of payment cards, credit transfers, direct debits, e-money transfers and digital payment tokens, including electronic wallets.

The PISA framework will also cover crypto-asset-related services, such as the acceptance of crypto-assets by merchants within a card payment scheme and the option to send, receive or pay with crypto-assets via an electronic wallet.

“The retail payments ecosystem is evolving fast owing to innovation and technological change,” said ECB executive board member Fabio Panetta. “This calls for a forward-looking approach in overseeing digital payment solutions.”

Panetta added: “The PISA framework will include digital payment tokens such as stablecoins, alongside traditional payment instruments and schemes we have gained experience in over the years. Internationally coordinated action will also have to be stepped up to cope with the challenges posed by global digital payment solutions and stablecoins.”

Companies that are already subject to Eurosystem oversight are expected to adhere to the principles of the new framework by 15 November 2022. Other companies will have a grace period of one year from the moment they are notified that they will be subject to oversight under the new framework.

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