Theme E: Payment Systems and Digital Currencies

Chapter 28 deals with the development of a single market for payments through an initiative for integration across the European Union known as Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). The analysis in Chap. 28 looks at how the existence of separate national payment infrastructures, systems, formats and processes will give way to a more efficient, harmonised and central payments infrastructure, which would allow for borderless payments across a single Market. Chapter 29 continues with the theme of SEPA to explore its implementation in Spain. Specifically, the analysis focuses on the consequences of SEPA on the Spanish payment card market.

The analysis in Chap. 30 draws on cash-related costs to support the claim that, sooner or later, the transition to a cashless society is unavoidable. The study employs the case of Mimoni, the largest online consumer lender in Latin America, and examines the impact of loan costs and ways to minimise them. Minimising the cost generated by cash friction will reduce the complexity and cost for households and individuals.

In the area of financial innovation and financial behaviour, Chap. 31 examines Denmark’s vision of becoming the world’s first and foremost digital, cashless society. The analysis is based on the findings of a systematic study, aiming to map Danish attitudes and practices towards money, and exploring the challenges of a potential cashless society.

In the final contribution, Chap. 32, the authors contend that global finances and economics are not an accurate representation of the real economy. As a result, conventional money is not indicative of people’s social, economic and environmental needs. Inspired by the notion of virtual currencies, the authors introduce the so called ‘ebarts’, with the aim of becoming as universal and useful as conventional money. Unlike other virtual or digital currencies, ebarts is a social currency; a mutual credit system created by its users in exchange of real goods and services.

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