Interest group A78 founded to provide consumers with the service they are legally entitled to
As of today, A78 unites Belgian payment institutions licensed by the National Bank of Belgium. As a result, the new payment institutions, mostly so-called fintech companies, now have their own interest group.
The association, of which the full name is “Association of 7 and 8”, unites all Belgian payment institutions licensed by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) for services 7 and 8, respectively the new payment initiation services and account information services. Hence the name A78.
Rapidly changing banking landscape
The new interest group exists alongside other sector organisations such as Febelfin, which has been known since 2003 to represent the interests of the financial sector in Belgium. In practice, these are mainly traditional large banks.
However, technological and legal innovations have shaken the sector up considerably in recent years. Among other things, the European PSD2 (Payment Service Directive 2) regulations, which became applicable on 14 September 2019, opened the doors to new, mostly technological, players on the market. These players often have different needs and interests than the traditional players. A78 will represent and defend these interests vis-à-vis the government, national regulators, European or supranational institutions, traditional financial institutions and consumer organisations. It will also inform and advise its members and act as a spokesman to the media.
Joining forces for PSD2 implementation
A first important topic that will be addressed is to collect all the problems of the members concerning PSD2 connections with the Belgian banks and discuss them bilaterally with the banks and with the NBB. The so-called APIs (digital connections that the banks have to provide) often fall short. As a result, the customers of these new payment institutions cannot get the service to which they are legally entitled.
The interest group was initiated by Cake, the free banking app that will be launched this year and which allows users to manage multiple accounts from 1 app, gives advice and cashbacks and allows users to earn a penny by processing their banking transactions into insights for businesses. After consultation with the NBB about the faltering implementation of PSD2, Cake took the initiative, at the request of the NBB, to join forces with other fintech players in order to form a single point of contact for parties such as Febelfin and the NBB.
“More than 4 months after the PSD2 deadline for the banks, we are still experiencing problems connecting to the APIs of several Belgian banks. Consumers are therefore still unable to make proper use of the services of Cake and other new players even though they are legally entitled to do so. We hope, with A78, to reach a constructive solution with the banks soon.” says Davy Kestens, founder and CEO of Cake.
“The Belgian consumer will be the primary victim of poor implementation of the new banking regulations.”
A78 was set up as an unincorporated association. The aim is to connect all players working under license 7 and 8. In the course of the coming months, A78 will be converted into a non-profit association. Then all payment institutions (including those with permits 1 to 6) will be able to join.
For the time being, the chairmanship is in the hands of Yves Bovin, Head of Legal & Operations at Cake. Once the association is fully on track, an independent chairman will be appointed.
A78 was created in January 2020 and aims to unite all Belgian payment institutions licensed by the National Bank of Belgium for services 7 (payment initiation services) and 8 (account information services).
A78 will represent and defend their interests vis-à-vis the government, national regulators, European or supranational institutions, traditional financial institutions and consumer organisations.