ECB plans to enable mobile payments using phone numbers

The European Central Bank wants to make it easier for consumers to make person-to-person mobile payments. Earlier this month it unveiled plans for a new system that would allow people to pay a friend or small business anywhere in the European Union using just the payee’s mobile phone number.

According to Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB’s executive board, the phone number would act as a proxy for the payee’s international bank account number (IBAN).

Citing a report in French newspaper La Tribune, EurActiv said that the central bank wants to establish a European directory for mobile payments, allowing the mobile phone number entered to redirect payments to the bank account of the beneficiary’s choice.

The system would be particularly beneficial for payments in the sharing economy, such as those made for Airbnb lettings.

It is expected to be launched by the end of 2017.

At the same time, the Eurosystem, the monetary authority of the eurozone, has asked payment service providers to make pan-European instant payment solutions in euro available to end users by November 2017.

The European Central Bank also said that the Eurosystem will decide this year whether to provide a pan-European settlement service for instant payments in central bank money to payment service providers.

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