Governance and Structure
The primary focus of Berlin Group standardisation is the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The Berlin Group is open for participation to any market supply-side bank (ASPSP), banking association, payment association, payment scheme and interbank processor active in the SEPA payment industry. The Berlin Group also welcomes participants from outside the SEPA countries who want to learn from, or take part in, the creation of the SEPA-focused Berlin Group standards. Any requirements which may not be fitting with the SEPA eco-system, regulations and legislation shall not necessarily influence the Berlin Group work, while non-conflicting requirements will be considered for integration.
The Berlin Group is governed by a Plenary which is the decision making body and several task forces, all of which report to the Plenary. The Authorisation Task Force, and the Clearing Task Force respectively, is working on standardisation of the authorisation application layer, and on clearing and settlement matters respectively. These task forces meet on a regular basis to work on new features and change requests to the standards. Further task forces are the VPN Task Force and the Security Task Force which have defined functional and security requirements for network connections. Research items that could impact the Creditor/Acquirer-to-Debtor/Issuer domain (new developments in e.g. customer authentication, tokenisation, instant payments, mobile payments, or items derived from new regulations or directives) are being discussed in dedicated NextGen Task Forces.
Although the Berlin Group has no formal means and mandate to foster implementation of the standards within or between schemes, it has established an Implementation Task Force (User Group) which is open for implementers of the standard only and has the task to support implementers with questions, to identify and manage interoperability or technical implementation issues relating to the specification standards and to keep the standards in line with the requirements of real implementations. The Implementation Task Force enables implementers to support migration planning, and to initiate change requests based on their practical experience. For inter-scheme connections, implementers have to meet the Berlin Group defined minimum requirements on certification in order to assure a solid and reliable level of interoperability and security to exchange messages and perform the corresponding processing procedures according to the Berlin Group standards.
The Berlin Group is committed to full transparency of its work to the market and has been created in the spirit of an ‘open source’-initiative with the intention to contribute its achievements freely to any interested party. The standards specifications issued via the Berlin Group website are provided free for use.