ECB’s Governing Council approves a new oversight framework for electronic payments

Following a 2020 public consultation, European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council approved a new Eurosystem oversight framework for electronic payments, schemes and arrangements.

Background

The PISA framework is the result of a “comprehensive review of the Eurosystem’s oversight approach for payment instruments” [1] and it is designed to make the current and future payments ecosystem safer and more efficient, as part of the ECB’s statutory task to promote the smooth operation of payment systems”, according to the official ECB press release.

It is worth highlighting that the new framework will also cover “crypto-asset-related services, such as the acceptance of crypto-assets by merchants within a card payment scheme and the option to send, receive or pay with crypto-assets via an electronic wallet[2].”

Key features of the new oversight framework:

Fabio Panetta, a member of the ECB Executive Board member, stated: “The PISA framework will include digital payment tokens such as stablecoins, alongside traditional payment instruments and schemes we have gained experience in over the years. Internationally coordinated action will also have to be stepped up to cope with the challenges posed by global digital payment solutions and stablecoins.”

In February 2021 the ECB submitted an opinion on the proposal for a regulation on Markets in Crypto-assets, and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937 (MiCA). Negotiations between Member States in the Council are currently moving forward. In the Parliament, no date has been announced for the vote on the draft report[5] and proposed amendments in the Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee.

Next steps:

For schemes that are already subject to oversight by a Eurosystem central bank, the new framework will become applicable as of 15 November 2022.

As stated by the ECB, “newly overseen schemes/arrangements should adhere to the PISA framework within one year, at the latest, of being informed that they fall within the scope of the PISA framework.”

Additional information:

For further details about the new framework, the risks and applicable oversight principles, please click this link for access the full “Eurosystem oversight framework for electronic payment instruments, schemes and arrangements” document

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[1] Eurosystem oversight framework for electronic payment instruments, schemes and arrangements, paragraph 2.1.

[2] More information available in the following link: Eurosystem publishes new framework for overseeing electronic payments (europa.eu)

[3] To recall, Eurosystem oversight of payment systems is classified in two main groups:

  • systemically important payment systems (SIPS)
  • non-systemically important payment systems (non-SIPS)

The ECB reviews annually the classification of the euro area payment systems considering criteria related to “size, market share, cross-border activity and the provision of settlement services to other financial market infrastructures”.

[4] Eurosystem oversight framework for electronic payment instruments, schemes and arrangements, paragraph 3.

[5] Drafted by Stefan Berger (EPP, Germany) Presented in February 2021. MEPs have proposed 1160 amendments in total. 

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