The election of the new ECPA Board of Directors for 2021 / 2022 took place on 15th October 2020.

On the same day, the ECPA Board of Directors discussed the European Commission’s Retail Payment Strategy as well as the realities in the payment industry caused by the 2020 pandemic.

The newly elected ECPA Chair, Juan Carlos Martín Guirado, observed that  :

it is encouraging that the European Commission has taken into account some of the recommendations made by ECPA and its members in the recently published Retail Payments Strategy. Most notably the Commission has recognised the importance of “home grown” European specifications for contactless card payments, such as the CPACE specifications which were developed initially under the aegis of ECPA following the EMVCo technical standards. The CPACE specifications are available to card industry players, not only within Europe, but also at a global level.

Martín Guirado continued to say “Furthermore, through its policy of Business Associate membership ECPA is already aligned with the ambitions stated in the Commission’s Retail Payments Strategy document to assist countries from the West Balkan and the Eastern Neighbourhood in developing innovative and efficient payment systems. This is illustrated by the fact that both the Turkish card scheme BKM / TROY and NSPK / MIR from Russia are already ECPA Business Associates, and other domestic / regional card schemes are expected to join ECPA in the near future”.

The Board noted more generally that the European Commission also stressed the importance of increased acceptance of electronic (card) payments at the point of sale because of Covid-19, and ECPA and its members stand ready to assist.

The fact that the Board Meeting and General Assembly took place “on-line” reminded everyone that a new modus operandi has become the new normal in 2020, and confirmed that the European Card Payment Association has successfully adapted its processes to safely proceed with its mission and responsibilities as a representative body of the card payment industry.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this included working with the European authorities to ensure that card manufacturing centres are designated essential businesses / services.

The ECPA Board wishes to congratulate all the stakeholders that have worked together to maintain the resilience of card payments during what has been a challenging year in the payments industry. This cooperation has successfully sustained a secure environment and, as such, a safe harbour for consumers and merchants alike in these troubled times.

Lastly, ECPA is hopeful that the ECPA International Conference of Regional Card Schemes & Retail Infrastructures which has been organised every year since 2015 in cooperation with the World Bank can be reinstated in 2021 so as to provide payment experts from all five continents with a platform for debate.