Seeking a uniform process for card-not-present transactions in the Single Euro Payments Area throughout Europe, the European Payments Council has created a blueprint for an interoperable card and terminal infrastructure.

The council's proposals appear in the latest version of the SEPA card standardization guidelines that the council has established with the Cards Stakeholders Group, according to a March 9 press release.

The latest blueprint calls for functional and security requirements for card-not-present payments as made through electronic or mobile commerce, or telephone orders.

It also seeks enhanced requirements related to pre-authorization of both face-to-face and remote card payments relevant to service providers operating in the hospitality sector, as well as a card processing framework that defines business principles and requirements for market access and participation in card payment processing services.

The council seeks feedback on its proposal until early June before it sets official guidelines with a three-year implementation timeline.

The guidelines, as established in January 2014, remain unchanged for card-present transactions and are subject to a voluntary three-year timeline for rollout by January 2017.

While most banks and businesses met an August 2014 deadline to comply with SEPA standards for direct debit and money transfers, SEPA planners have pointed to plastic payment cards as a more complex sector to reach compliance.

As part of the ongoing SEPA plan, payment cards must be in full compliance to allow consumers to initiate domestic or cross-border transactions with euros through any part of the euro zone.

Three years ago, the European Commission called for the creation of e-commerce and mobile payments frameworks to operate in unison with SEPA. Throughout the past 10 years in which European lawmakers and bankers have discussed and planned the SEPA initiative, an underlying goal has always been to rebuild Europe's payments system

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