Groupement des Cartes Bancaires would like to thank the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the other European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) for the opportunity to comment on the draft joint guidelines under Article 25 of Regulation 2015/847. As rightly mentioned in the introductory statement, it is indeed of paramount importance to promote a common understanding of the information related to payment account numbers required in any transfer of funds.
Established in 1984 to provide a universal and interoperable card payment and ATM cash withdrawal scheme in France, Groupement des Cartes Bancaires CB is a non‐profit organization acting as the governing body of the CB payment scheme.
As of January 2017, CB has 112 members, comprising both banks and payment institutions worldwide.
CB is responsible for the system’s overall architecture, inter‐member rules & procedures and risk management. CB also defines technical and security standards, and ensures that manufacturers and vendors whose products and services are used in the CB system comply with these standards.
Furthermore, CB operates an information system, providing its members with high performance tools and countermeasures in the fight against fraud.
CB is one of the largest card payment schemes in the European Union (2016 figures):
‐ 66.5 million cards,
‐ 1.5 million merchant acceptance points and 57,136 ATMs
‐ a very significant activity, both in terms of transaction volumes and value
‐ 10.6 billion CB payment transactions + 1.5 billion CB ATM operations for a total value of 592.5 billion €uros
Turning to the consultation paper, Groupement des Cartes Bancaires wishes to clarify that the Primary Account Number (PAN) displayed on payment cards is fully compliant with the obligation to provide the payment account numbers of the payee and the payer.
The definition given by the Regulation (point 7 of Article 3 referring to 14 of Article 4 of Directive 2007/64/EC) qualifies indeed a payment account as an account held in the name of one or more payment service users which is used for the execution of payment transactions, an act, initiated by the payer or by the payee, of placing, transferring or withdrawing funds, irrespective of any underlying obligations between the payer and the payee (point 5 of this same Directive).
Compared to the bank account number, PAN numbers are more valuable as they offer the advantage to precisely identify the holder of the payment card, which is particularly relevant when a bank account is held jointly by two or more individuals. A “traditional” IBAN number does not allow to precisely identify the person who has initiated the transfer of funds. The PAN will identify directly this person and the bank account payment to which the PAN is linked, achieving the goals of the Regulation 2015/847, which is to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and organized crime.
Consequently, the PAN should be considered as an efficient tool to identify the cardholder who has initiated a transfer of funds through a card and, as such, be qualified as a valuable payment account.
What is more, in countries where IBAN numbers are considered sensitive information (France for example), the display of a PAN on the card (instead of an IBAN), dramatically increases the security of the entire payment eco system.