The Joint Initiative of the Berlin Group, leading Mobile P2P scheme services in Europe, and associated infrastructure providers, has published its first phase deliverable of a 'Technical Feasibility Study on pan-European Mobile P2P Interoperability', showing how open, harmonised and scheme-independent standards for interoperability between regional Mobile P2P payment services can create pan-European reachability and acceptance of these services for European consumers. The Study supports the aim to enable consumers to use their current Mobile P2P service to transfer money to any other consumer in Europe.
With the objective to contribute to the ERPB (Euro Retail Payments Board) focus on development of pan-European Mobile P2P payment initiation in the instant payments scheme layer, the Joint Initiative Feasibility Study shows a technical and functional architecture that enables interlinking of regional Mobile P2P scheme services based on existing bank (IBAN) and card (PAN) account references, by leveraging existing interoperability standards and achieved SEPA harmonisation, initially for the P2P payment context, later to be explored for the C2B payment context as well. The architecture outlines a layered approach and distinguishes five levels of interoperability with efficient reachability and routing flexibility in a repository layer (confirming the mapping of a registered mobile phone to a bank or card account) and with three supported models in the clearing and settlement layer, of which one solution is already anticipating the future 'instant SCT' as currently being defined by the European Payments Council. In designing the architecture, costly centralised solutions, expensive dedicated collaterals/prefunding arrangements and high operational costs have been avoided. The technical and functional interoperability architecture delivered by this initiative is fully in line with the recently stated expectations of the ERPB and will later on allow commercial Mobile P2P services to create market visibility via e.g. bilateral-, multilateral- or overarching scheme agreements. As a next step, the architecture will be further detailed in harmonised standards of open interfaces, data formats and message protocols, describing the logical and physical data layers.
Through a unique partnership, the participants are cooperating together with the common vision that open, harmonised and scheme-independent standards for processes, data and infrastructures are the necessary building blocks of an open, interoperable market. True interoperability is the essential ingredient in creating competitive pan-European Mobile P2P services that will contribute to further completion of the European Internal Market, benefit the payments industry in general and European consumers in specific. Pan-European Mobile P2P interoperability is a major step forward to make SEPA a reality for Mobile P2P payments as well.
The 'Technical Feasibility Study on pan-European Mobile P2P Interoperability' can be downloaded here and will be of interest to Mobile P2P scheme services, financial institutions, mobile network operators, payment processors and technical vendors operating in Mobile P2P payment services. Being an open standardisation effort, the platform is welcoming any other interested Mobile P2P scheme services and infrastructure providers that would like to contribute actively as a participant.