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Study: Merchants to benefit from Europe's PSD2 initiative

Retail companies could become the new face of everyday financial transactions once the Revised Payments Services Directive, known as PSD2, goes into effect in the European Union in January, according to research from Accenture.

PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers — such as retail merchants — access to a consumer's online account/payment services in a regulated and secure way, with the consumer's consent. The goal is to drive increased competition, innovation and transparency across the European payments market while enhancing the security of Internet payments and account access.

As part of the study, Accenture surveyed nearly 80 payments executives at large retail companies and banks across Europe. The research found nearly one-third will be able to plug in directly to banks to obtain consumer information and initiate payments by the January 2018 PSD2 deadline that requires banks to provide access to third-party providers, and nearly 90 percent will be able to do so by 2019.

"Open banking is an opportunity for retailers to provide a better customer experience through flexible payment initiation and faster refunds, and to increase cash flow by bypassing card networks and fees and reducing fraud and chargebacks," Jeremy Light, who leads Accenture's payments practice in Europe, said in a press release. "Ultimately, retailers will have to determine whether they will get significant value by creating their own payment capability, such as a purchasing app combining payments and commerce, or if they are better off partnering with an intermediary that can create a universal capability connected to the banks to continue ensuring frictionless payments in this new environment."