Germany launches Wero, the European solution for instant digital transfers

Simplified account-to-account transfers that do not go through an American payment system like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay did not exist on a European scale. Since Tuesday, July 2, Wero, supported by 16 European banks, has been launched in Germany. “Without IBAN, individuals should be able to transfer money in seconds, using a phone number or email address,” explain The day of the week.

This digital payment system allows you to forget “traditional transfers via the recipient’s 22-digit account number (IBAN)”. Wero works “in real time”, which means that “the money is credited to the beneficiary’s account within ten seconds”, details the German news site.

A European counterweight

For the time being, the system works with the network of savings banks, German People’s Banks and Raiffeisen banks. It is limited to account-to-account transfers, but, “From 2025, it will also be possible to pay online with Wero and, from 2026, in retail.”

Wero wants to be “a European alternative to American operators in the world of finance”, explain Focus. The advantage of the system, explains the German magazine, is that there is no need to download a specific application and that “Wero works for customers of different banks that support Wero payments” : simply select a transfer via Wero in your banking app.

“Banking institutions are thus hoping to create a counterweight in the payments market, which is dominated by American companies,” note the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. According to the European Payments Initiative (EPI), which is behind this payment solution, Deutsche Bank is expected to join the initiative at the end of the summer.

Four years of gestation

According to the chairman of the EPI supervisory board, Joachim Schmalzl, Wero must “strengthening European sovereignty in the area of ​​payments” and put “end of addiction” vis-à-vis American competitors. However, a financial consultant interviewed by the Frankfurt daily is cautious:

“The competition in this field is huge, changing user behavior is a major challenge.”

The EPI, created in 2020, has in fact worked four years on this first application, for the moment limited to Germany. Belgium and France – where Wero would rely on the Paylib system – should follow in Germany’s footsteps respectively at the end of July and in September.

Banks are reluctant to organize a single person-to-person digital wallet solution for all everyday payment uses. However, a regulation adopted by the European Union on February 26 requires them to offer an instant payment service in all eurozone countries, at the same rate as a traditional transfer.

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