Bluecode, the first pan-European mobile payment system, has recently won the “Instant Payment Hackathon” of the European Central Bank (ECB), leaving smartphone bank N26 and payment service provider Worldpay behind in the jury’s assessment. The task was to develop, within 24 hours, a mobile payment solution for SEPA Instant Credit Transfers that allows direct real-time payments in the single euro payments area (SEPA) and enables instant transfers to the recipient’s account – without the delay of a bank business day. The competition took place as part of the two-day ECB conference “An innovative single market for the euro” in Frankfurt am Main. In Germany, the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, the department store chain Galeria Kaufhof and the Globus stores, among others, are supporting the rollout of Bluecode.
“We welcome the European Central Bank’s initiative for gaining know-how from leading European fintech companies to promote innovation in mobile payments as well as pan-European solutions made in Europe,” says Christian Pirkner, CEO of Blue Code International AG. “In times of Donald Trump and international trade conflicts, calls for a greater independence of Europe from US-American payment systems are getting louder – ranging from ECB Director Yves Mersch and Bundesbank Board Member Burkhard Balz to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But words alone are not enough, so we are very grateful for such initiatives where we can make our contribution to a future-proof payment market for over 500 million Europeans.”
First pan-European mobile payment system keeps growing
In recent months, Bluecode has legally and technically established the first independent mobile payment system valid throughout Europe. It enables cashless payments via Android smartphone, iPhone and Apple Watch, combined with digital value-added services and bonus programmes, so called Bluecode Rewards. In accordance with European data protection law, no personal data is stored or transmitted on the mobile phone during the payment process. Nevertheless, retailers can link their existing digital loyalty cards, lotteries, stamp cards or bonus points with Bluecode mobile payments, or set up new customer loyalty programmes. After scanning the anonymous blue barcode (Bluecode) at the cash register, the purchase is debited directly from the customer’s current account. Any added values, such as discounts or vouchers, are immediately credited to the customer’s mobile app. Retailers also benefit from this real-time debiting from the current account (instant payment): The amount paid by the customer is immediately transferred to their current account. These instant payments are particularly helpful for small businesses, as they currently need to wait several days for money transfers.
While more than 85 percent of Austrian food retailers and many other retailers already accept the Bluecode mobile payments, Bluecode is currently accelerating the rollout throughout Europe and the integration into cash registers, apps of retailers and banks as well as vending machines. In Germany, the expansion is supported by the largest retail banking group in Europe, the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, the department store chain Galeria Kaufhof and the Globus stores. Further countries are to follow in the coming months.
Bluecode is the first pan-European mobile payment solution that enables cashless payments via Android smartphone, iPhone and Apple Watch combined with value-added services (Bluecode Rewards) in apps – for in- stance of banks and retailers. In accordance with European data protection law, no personal data is stored or transmitted on the mobile phone during the payment process. The highly secure, TAN-based payment system works with all bank giro accounts and is independent from the transmission technology (barcode, QR code, blue- tooth, NFC). Renowned banks in Germany and Austria (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, Raiffeisen Upper Austria, Hypo Tirol Bank), acquirers (BS Payone), international banking software providers (Temenos Group AG/Switzerland) and payment platforms (Alipay/China) as well as leading retailers (Galeria Kaufhof Group, Globus Group, Konsum, Rewe subsidiaries Billa, Merkur and Bipa, Spar Austria Group) support the Europe-wide rollout and integration into cash registers, vending machines, apps of banks and retailers as well as loyalty card apps (such as mobile-pocket). Bluecode already covers more than 85% of the Austrian food retailing and many other outlets (retail & e-commerce, catering, travel, entertainment, sports stadiums). More information: www.bluecode.com
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