As the
implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) gets closer,
Visa Europe has reached an agreement with Germany’s DZ Bank and WGZ
Bank and with Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und
Raiffeisenbanken (BVR), the national association of German
co-operative banks, for the issuance of Visa’s SEPA-compliant debit
card, V PAY. BVR has over 15.7 million members and 30 million
customers in Germany.

BVR said it supported the introduction of more competition, with
immediate effect, through the co-branding of the German domestic
debit scheme, known as electronic cash, and V PAY on debit cards
for Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken (VR-BankCards). The central
banks of the co-operative bank group, DZ Bank and WGZ Bank, will
allow their partner banks to also issue payment cards co-branded
with electronic cash and V PAY.

As representatives of the co-operative banking group, DZ Bank and
WGZ Bank will open up their technical card payment processing to
enable the issuance of V PAY in conjunction with their technical
partners CardProcess, DG Verlag, GAD and Fiducia IT.

Visa said the agreement was an important step towards the
realisation of SEPA, as it would bring competition to the
co-branding of debit card programmes within European payment card
organisations for the first time. The members of BVR now have a
co-branding alternative for their debit card business.

Peter Ayliffe, president and CEO of Visa Europe, said: “V PAY is
the first card specifically designed to meet the needs of SEPA.
Based on chip and PIN technology, V PAY is fully secure and through
its very competitive pricing will be a highly cost-efficient way
for European banks to make SEPA happen for the benefit of consumers
and retailers.”

Hubertus Piel, member of the board of BVR, said: “The choice of a V
PAY co-branding means, for our members, that customer service and
profitability in the debit card business can be combined in the
future. Alongside the activities of the German cards industry, in
the context of the electronic cash scheme and the implementation of
the Euro Alliance of Payment Schemes, the co-operation with Visa
Europe is another important building block within the SEPA strategy
of the Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken. We greatly welcome the
competition of different solutions.”