On 3 April 2020, the European Commission (EC) launched consultations in two areas: digital finance and retail payments.
The EC recognises that the coronavirus pandemic has shown that consumers and businesses are increasingly relying on digital financial services, including cashless payments. The current emergency has also highlighted the importance of innovation in digital financial products, as reliance on remote services has increased.
When the consultations launched, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis for an Economy that Works for People said: “The coronavirus crisis has shown just how much we rely on technology and digital financial services to go about our daily lives, including for paying remotely for essential goods and services. If Europe is to reap the benefits of innovative financial services over the years to come and become a frontrunner in this field, we need to strike the right balance between promoting innovation and properly managing risks to consumers and investors. Today’s consultations will help us strike that balance.”
The consultation on digital finance seeks views on measures needed to further enable innovative digital financial services in the EU, while considering possible competition issues with BigTech companies. This will feed into the EC’s new Digital Finance Strategy / FinTech action plan, which will be presented in Q3 2020.
The consultation on retail payments seeks feedback on the forthcoming Retail Payments Strategy for the EU, which will also be published in Q3 of 2020. The EC’s aim is to create an innovative, integrated and competitive retail payments sector for European consumers. It recognises that safe and efficient payment systems and services can help improve the EU’s ability to deal with emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Both consultations will remain open until 26 June 2020.