Eurosystem’s Retail Payments Strategy: Outlook for 2024 & Beyond

The Eurosystem has updated its strategy to strengthen the European payments industry among changing market dynamics. The updated approach aims to enhance efficiency and resilience, addressing recent challenges and ensuring robust and innovative payment systems for the future.

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Eurosystem’s Retail Payments Strategy

Prioritizing a European Retail Payment Strategy, it aims to tackle challenges and seizes opportunities within a defined governance structure. The update underlines the significance of the digital euro project and plans to enhance retail payment resilience. While prioritizing developing pan-European solutions across Europe and fortifying SEPA, the strategy incorporates additional goals geared towards enhancing overall efficiency and resilience. Illustrated in the diagram below, five key objectives are further explored in this article.

The Eurosystems retail payments strategy

Illustration 1: Objectives of the updated strategy

Pan-European Solutions for Payments at the POI (Point of Interaction)

The primary goal of the Eurosystem’s retail payments strategy is to develop pan-European solutions for retail payments at the POI (point of interaction), which includes physical points of sale, mobile devices, and e-commerce platforms, all regulated at the European level. While pushing for a unified European approach, it backs market-driven efforts like the European Payments Initiative (EPI) to achieve pan-European reach, safety, and efficiency while preserving European branding and governance.

In a rapidly changing payments landscape, interoperable and efficient retail payment solutions are crucial. The Eurosystem envisions a diverse range of applications, from traditional stores to e-commerce, fostering collaboration and supporting initiatives to establish an interconnected payment infrastructure serving consumers and businesses throughout the Eurozone.

Strengthening the „Classic“ SEPA

The Eurosystem’s strategy extends to strengthening the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) through the full deployment of instant payments. Despite strides made, progress has been below expectations. The Eurosystem stresses the importance of overcoming barriers and enhancing the resilience of the SEPA schemes.

Instant payments are the cornerstone of a modern payments infrastructure, offering real-time settlement and enhanced convenience for consumers and businesses alike. The Eurosystem remains committed to accelerating the adoption of instant payments across the Eurozone, ensuring that SEPA remains at the forefront of innovation in retail payments.

Improving Cross-Border Payments

Enhancing cross-border payments is essential for fostering European business and individual transactions. The Eurosystem explores initiatives like cross-currency instant payments settlements, aiming to modernize European retail payments and facilitate seamless cross-border trade and investment.

In an increasingly interconnected world, the ability to conduct cross-border transactions quickly and securely is essential for economic growth and prosperity. The Eurosystem’s cross-border payment improvements demonstrate its commitment to supporting EU and international trade and investment.

Increasing Resilience of Retail Payments

Recent geopolitical events highlight the need for resilient retail payment systems. The Eurosystem promotes diverse payment solutions, minimizing reliance on single technologies and ensuring the availability of fallback options. In addition, initiatives to harmonize electronic identity services focus on enhancing security and accessibility.

The Eurosystem recognizes the importance of resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges, whether geopolitical or technological. By promoting diversity and redundancy in payment systems, the Eurosystem strives  to ensure the continuity of retail payments, so that consumers and businesses can transact with confidence, even in times of crisis.

Supporting Innovation and Accessibility

The Eurosystem promotes innovation and accessibility in payments, fostering competition and supporting fintech for efficient, modern financial services. Initiatives for environmentally sustainable transactions and preserving cash access highlight its commitment to inclusivity.

Innovation fuels efficiency, accessibility, and consumer choice in payments. By nurturing fintech and fostering collaboration, the Eurosystem drives a culture of innovation benefiting both consumers and businesses. Environmental sustainability initiatives underscore its commitment to responsible resource stewardship and a greener future.

Digital Euro: A Catalyst for Innovation

Lastly, we must not overlook the significance of the digital euro project in the overall strategy. In tandem with the rise of digital retail payments, the Eurosystem explores the introduction of a digital euro, complementing existing payment solutions. By leveraging industry standards and technology, the digital euro offers a seamless transition to a digital-first economy while preserving the availability of both private and public means of payment.

The digital euro represents a paradigm shift in the way Europeans conduct transactions, offering enhanced security, accessibility, and convenience. As digitalization reshapes the payments landscape, the Eurosystem recognizes the importance of staying ahead of the curve. By embracing digital innovation, the Eurosystem reinforces Europe’s position as a global leader in payment technology while safeguarding the integrity of its monetary system.


The Eurosystem’s updated retail payments strategy promotes innovation, adaptation, and accessibility. The Eurosystem is ready to lead Europe toward a digital future by highlighting the digital euro initiative and environmental sustainability, among others. It aims to make payments safe, fast, and easy for people and companies.

Since digitization has been a top trend in recent years and an important topic in more fields after the pandemic, it’s time to give it the attention it deserves. Even if this trend is essential presently, it may face difficulties from several angles like any innovative matter.

Marilda Kazo

Marilda Kazo

ist Betriebswirtschaftlerin und bei msg for banking im Geschäftsbereich Payments tätig.

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