EPC and GSMA introduce consultation on SEPA mobile payments

The European Payments Council (EPC), the decision making and coordination body of the European banking industry in relation to payments, and GSMA, representing the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, have released the paper, TSM Service Management Requirements and Specifications, in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) for public consultation.

This document describes the different roles and processes involved in the provision and lifecycle management of banks’ mobile contactless payment (MCP) applications integrated into a mobile phone.

The consultation open to all interested market participants marks an important breakthrough in cross industry cooperation between payment services providers and mobile network operators aimed at empowering over 500 million European consumers to make SEPA payments using their mobile phone. This cooperation is the most ambitious project designed to date to build a common architecture for mobile contactless payments.

Dag-Inge Flatraaker, chair of the EPC M-Channel Group, commented: “The requirements developed by EPC and GSMA will have a major impact enabling the mobile as a channel for payments in SEPA. This initiative paves the way for more efficient commercial launches of mobile contactless payments and contributes to interoperability and freedom of choice for the different stakeholders.”

Added Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer and chief strategy officer, GSMA: “This is a significant move as it is the first time that mobile operators and banks have worked together at the international level on a common vision for contactless payments.”

In June 2008, the EPC and GSMA joined forces to support the further development of mobile payment services leveraging both the existing SEPA infrastructure and the infrastructure set up by mobile network operators. The EPC and GSMA are focused on defining requirements and specifications regarding the roles of Trusted Service Managers to interface with banks and mobile operators. TSMs will facilitate the distribution, configuration and activation of the bank’s payment application on the Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC, also known as a SIM card) within bank customers’ Near Field Communications (NFC) handsets (their mobile phone). This technology allows, for example, payment using a mobile phone at a card payment terminal provided by a retailer or when purchasing from a vending machine.

The definition and specification of the requirements and business models for TSM services closes an existing gap in the new NFC ecosystem. The consultation now launched by the EPC and GSMA will eventually lead to shared solutions supporting the establishment of commercial relationships between banks, mobile network operators and Trusted Service Managers thus promoting mobile contactless payments across SEPA. In addition, the agreement on TSM specifications allows interested parties to develop services in the role of a TSM.