The Card business

Fact sheets for the media and the press.


A market without borders – modern times, modern solutions

In 2002, the European Commission formulated a vision with European banks for a common payment market, the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). The goal of SEPA is to have a market without borders within the EU, making it easier for customers to spend money anywhere in Europe. Banks have been clear from the start that the payments within SEPA will be as advantageous as domestic payments.

One key for the development of a common payment market is offering customers European instruments and payment card services. These include solutions for autogiro, intra-EU bank transfers, and advantageous terms for payment cards.

For more information about how SEPA makes it easier for customers to spend money throughout Europe, see this fact sheet.


One common European payment market

In 2002, the European Commission took the first steps toward one single payment market for Europe, the Single Euro Payment Area or SEPA. The initiative is supported by European banks and facilitates the movement of currency across European borders to make payments between countries more convenient.

As a result, a payment system for the entire EU is now emerging.

One prerequisite for SEPA is a common set of regulations that integrate into each country’s existing legislation. The European Commission is developing a new legal framework, the Payment Service Directive, that will apply to payments inside SEPA.

For more information about SEPA standards and the legislative process, see this fact sheet .


From magnetic strip to chip: cards in transition

Technical solutions for payment cards are undergoing a change process. Today’s familiar magnetic strip is being augmented by a small chip, called an EMV, which holds more data. The result is better security against skimming and card forgery, and more peace of mind for consumers. Magnetic strips will gradually be fully replaced by chips globally.For more information about EMV chips and their benefits, see this fact sheet.


Simplicity in a complex system

Plastic payment cards are not only the simplest payment method, they are also convenient and safe. MasterCard and Visa are accepted at over 24 million vendors around the world. Customers never miss a purchase, and run a smaller risk of loss or theft than when paying with cash. But behind the scenes is an extensive, complex transaction structure in which vendors, issuers and acquirers cooperate to make card payments possible.

For more information about the system behind card transactions and their benefits, see this fact sheet.


Safety and security first

As banks enhance their customer offers, safety is a common buzzword. In payment systems, safety is equivalent to customer peace of mind – and it must be maintained throughout the entire transaction chain. Customers must feel confident that their payment card information will remain protected and away from criminal hands when shopping with payment cards.

Safety also plays a key role in gaining consumer and market acceptance for payment card solutions.

For more information about customer safety and security, see this fact sheet.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

For more information about the frequently asked questions, see this fact sheet.