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In Europe, cross border payments could be about to get a whole lot easier

A global financial center, London is currently home to the European Banking Authority. The EBA works on both regulation and supervision across the European banking sector, with the aim of maintaining financial stability in the European Union (EU).

The EU has big ambitions for payment services — it wants to create a single payment area that allows both citizens and businesses to make cross border payments "as easily and safely as they would in their own countries."

The EBA has been working on the new payment services directive, or PSD2, which will become applicable next year. Among other things, the European Commission has said that the PSD2 will make the use of internet payment services easier and safer, and boost consumer rights.

Dirk Haubrich, head of consumer protection, financial innovation and payments at the EBA, told CNBC that PSD2 had the explicit objective to bring about competition and facilitate innovation in the market for payment services across the EU.

"There are a couple of other objectives that the PSD2… (has) like increasing security for payments, making payments convenient for consumers," Haubrich added.

Harsh Sinha, vice president of engineering at fintech firm Transferwise, described PSD2 as a "pretty great regulation." He said that benefits would include customers being able to carry out online transactions in a "more secure, convenient and fast manner."

Sinha described PSD2 as the next iteration on top of the first payment services directive, which he said had enabled "non-banks to innovate and create regulated financial services."

Josh Bottomley, global head of digital for retail banking and wealth management at HSBC, said that PSD2 would make the sharing of data easier.

Bottomley cited the example of a bank talking to a customer about their savings. "If I have the data from your other accounts, I ought to be able to make better suggestions to you about what you can do than if I only see the data on your HSBC information."

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