The Eurosystem sees a genuine need for secure and efficient online payment solutions to be offered throughout SEPA. In this vein, the three core instruments – SEPA credit transfers, SEPA direct debits and the SEPA credit cards – constitute the basis for eSEPA.

In eSEPA, Internet and mobile technologies serve to provide innovative and customer-friendly payment services. The aim is to replace paper-based by fully electronic payment processes, which will benefit both customers and banks. As a result, payment services will be rendered even more efficient and customer-friendly.

In some countries, we already see promising solutions in which banks make their online banking infrastructures available for the processing of secure and guaranteed online payments (electronic payments or e-payments). With its online credit transfer scheme eps, Austria is one of these pioneering countries.

The solutions that are currently available have a purely national focus. eSEPA naturally envisages SEPA-wide innovative solutions. These innovations will make it possible to pay online for purchases in any SEPA country by making a SEPA credit transfer in one's online banking environment.

Another innovation in the area of cashless payments is the option to make payments via mobile end devices (mobile payments or m-payments, e.g. via mobile telephones). Currently, m-payments focus on contactless payment procedures using near field communication (NFC) technology.

At the moment, an expert group set up by the European Commission is working on a Europe-wide solution for electronic invoicing (e-invoicing). The aim is to arrive at end-to-end e-procurement by digitizing the entire procurement process (invoicing and payment) and to enhance the efficiency of corporate business processes.