EU card takes on Visa-MasterCard duopoly

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A new EU-wide payments card is set to take on the duopoly of MasterCard and Visa.

Currently at concept stage, and expected to launch in October, the card will simplify credit and debit payments within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Payments on the card will not be charged cross-border fees.

French and German banks, including Deutsche Bank, Société Générale and BNP Paribas are working on plans for the card, which will be called Monnet after French economist Jean Monnet who strove for a united Europe.

Speaking at the European Banking Conference, Wiebe Ruttenberg, head of market infrastructure division at the European Central Bank (ECB), endorsed the proposals.

“We need at least one alternative card scheme in Europe to become a credible challenge to the duopoly,” Ruttenberg said.

Although all 27 EU member states are expected to adopt the cards, British payments specialist, the UK Cards Association, anticipates that it will have little impact in the UK.

A spokesperson for the group said: “Given that UK debit cards are all either Visa or MasterCard branded, and can be used overseas wherever those brands are accepted, the impact on UK consumers is likely to be limited.”

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