Inclusive-by-design retail payments can boost innovation in the EU

AGE was invited to join a panel on Financial Inclusion at a conference organised on 24 April by the European Central Bank on “An innovative and integrated European retail payments market”.

The access to safe, efficient and convenient means of payment is essential also in a digitalised world. But how can this be achieved when various groups respond differently to innovation?

The panel ‘Financial and technological inclusion in retail payment: Consumers in a digitalised world’ was chaired by Inge van Dijk, Director Payments & Market Infrastructure, De Nederlandsche Bank, and was composed of:

  • Anne-Sophie Parent, Former Secretary General, AGE Platform Europe
  • Julien Delamorte, Chief Executive Officer, Handsome
  • Colleen Dube, Chief Executive Officer, Irish National Adult Literacy Agency
  • Weiwen Zhong, Product Area Lead, ING
  • Elin Wihlborg, Professor Political Science, Linköping University, Sweden

When asked about the key hurdle for seniors to continue handling daily tasks on their own such as making payments digitally, Anne-Sophie Parent stressed that not only older persons but around 40% of the European population face challenges due to a lack of accessibility of digital payment hard and software, low digital skills or fear of falling victim to fraud.

“Instead of decreasing, the group at risk of financial exclusion is growing due to increasing digital payment fraud and social engineering attacks which result in lower trust in electronic payment services not designed for them,” explained Ms. Parent.   

The panel discussed how to ensure that retail payments are inclusive, and that all citizens can effectively use digital means of payments. Ms. Parent reminded that important work is on-going to align the EU accessibility standards with the European Accessibility Act (EAA) which will apply to banking services as of June 2025.  The EAA standards will support financial inclusion of vulnerable groups and will foster innovation in interoperable accessibility solutions, making the EU the best-in-class.  

“We recommend that the standard EN 301 549 and other relevant EAA standards are selected for the digital euro to make it inclusive-by-design from its first launch. This should help convince private payments services providers to follow the same approach for their own digital retail payment instruments” concluded Ms. Parent.

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