Merchant Payments Ecosystem (MPE) 2012, formerly known as the European Card Acquiring Forum (ECAF), proved again to be the leading payment acceptance event in Europe.

Looking at how the industry evolves, this transition from ECAF to MPE has been more than natural. The way we buy and sell goods and services is changing, and so are the ways merchants accept payments. Mobile payments are becoming ubiquitous and the need to explore secure options for alternative payments is booming. New innovative players are entering the market and social media are converging with payments.

Renewed conference format enabled MPE to encompass all of these trends and display lots of breakthrough innovations in a very interactive fashion. More than 400 senior attendees enjoyed 3 conference days packed by carefully designed sessions, giving enough room for questions, debates and networking.

An excellent cover up of the event was provided in April/March 2012 issue of Payments Cards & Mobile and also in March 2012 issue of RBR‘s Banking Automation Bulletin. We have posted both below for your convenience with authors‘ permission. Payments Cards & Mobile

  RBR - Banking Automation Bulletin

For more details about the 2012 event please see our chairmen summaries below.

Prestigious MPE awards have also witnessed their increasing popularity. Independent judges have chosen the best payment acceptance innovators and best performers in 10 distinctive categories.
To read more about them, click here...

MPE 2012 Key Speakers:

Acquirers, PSP's, Banks:
Nordea (NO), CartaSi (IT), UniCredit Group (AT), B+S Card Service (DE), Swedbank (EE), Barclaycard (UK), Commerzbank AG (DE), WorldPay (UK), Deutsche Card Services (DE), Credorax (USA), PayPal (DE), iZettle (SE)

Merchants & Merchant Associations:
IKEA (BE), March UK Limited (UK), METRO AG (DE), Travian Games (DE), Carrefour Personal Finance (FR), Air France (FR), Odigeo (ES), Badoo (UK), Eurocommerce (BE)

MasterCard Worldwide, PayFair (BE), Discover Financial Services (UK), American Express (UK)

First Data (UK), Equens (NL), SIX Pay (CH), VocaLink (UK), Heartland Payment Systems (US), First Data Polska(PL), TeleCash (DE)

Deutsche Telekom AG(DE), KPN (NL), Orange (FR), TAG (AT)

Mobile Payments Companies:
Handpoint (UK), iZettle (SE), BOKU (UK), Mocharge (UK)

Industry Experts:
First Annapolis Consulting (BE), De Smet Consulting (BE), Bank T&D Consulting (UK), GP Bullhound (UK), Retail Banking Research (UK), Alston &Bird (USA), Innovalue Management Partner (DE), McKinsey (BE), C&M Publications (UK),

Regulatory & Standardisation:
European Commission (BE), PCI SSC (UK), EPC (NL)

Solution Providers:
Tieto (LT), DataCash (UK), Welcome Real-time (SG), Nimble (UK), Foursquare (UK), VeriFone (UK), Compass Plus (UK), Trustwave (UK), BPC Banking Technologies (UK)

MPE 2012 Sponsors & Exhibitors:

Equens - MPE 2012Welcome real-time - MPE 2012First Data - MPE 2012 Innovalue - MPE 2012 SIX Pay - MPE 2012Compass Plus - MPE 2012

 Visa - MPE 2012 PayFair - MPE 2012 Verifone - MPE 2012Diners Club International - MPE 2012Trustwave - MPE 2012Amercican Express - MPE 2012
First Annapolis - MPE 2012  mastercard%20-%20european%20card%20acquiring%20forum%202009 WorldPay - MPE 2012 DataCash - MPE 2012 Credorax - MPE 2012HPS - MPE 2012
Tieto - MPE 2012   Handpoint - MPE 2012 Vocalink - MPE 2012Inform - MPE 2012BPC Banking Technologies - MPE 2012Inpay - MPE 2012
 aI Corporation - MPE 2012Alston+Bird - MPE 2012


MPE 2012 Chairmen Summaries:

Summary of Conference Day 1 by Robert Herzig, Head of POS Clearing/Financial Services,Treasury, METRO AG


Robert Herzig worked for over 10 years in the card business. At METRO AG is in charge of the Treasury for five years for cashless payments and consumer finance business. Previously he worked at HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Group) in Munich in various positions, most recently in the field of electronic business services. He completed his studies in economics at the Universities of Augsburg and Valladolid (Spain).



„The name of the conference changed from European Card Acquiring Forum to Merchant Payments Ecosystem. The reason could be seen yet on the first day of the conference:

The former three or four party models are changing, new players are entering the payment market.

And not just new players, as well new techniques and payment services entered the e-commerce market and are just around the corner and ready to enter as well the face to face business.

When will this take place? Although new devices like smart phones are spreading out rapidly most of the participants think that cards will remain quite a long time and will be replaced not within the next five years.

Beside the technical developments the current business models and the influence of existing and upcoming regulations were in the focus of the first day. Maybe this will lead some day to more central acquiring activities of the merchants. Some acquirers are on their way from a former national player to a regional or even European player, for them a way of no return and without alternative in order to survive. So during the first day very interesting discussions took place and in the panels and in the breaks one could often hear the phrase that these are one of the most interesting times card business ever had.

So we are looking forward to seeing you next year to have a look of the development of our ecosystem.“

Robert Herzig
Chairman of the first conference day

Summary of Conference Day 2 by Chris De Smet, MD, De Smet Consulting

Chris De Smet - Merchant Payments Ecosystem 2012

Mr. Chris De Smet has an international managerial experience in the financial services, telecommunications and information technology areas. In those sectors he acquired expertise as CEO, COO and President at national, European and worldwide level, whereby a continuous focus on customer relationship management and customer profitability were guiding factors. Chris operates since more than 10 years his own consultancy company with main focus on financial services, retail and card payments and related areas. After having worked as a partner with Arthur D. Little, KPMG and Unisys Consulting, he now works for international clients as an individual consultant and mentor. Over the last years, he has been actively involved with Visa Europe. He is 63 years of age, married and lives in Belgium.

As I already elaborated in my introduction at the second day of the conference, some of the presentations and discussions increased my conviction that the stakeholders of the payments industry need to carefully consider the future. The debate around the Commission’s ‘Green Paper’, the criticism about the perceived lack of competition and lack of transparency, the continuous debate about the true costs of the various means of payment, all leave me with the feeling that having open and unbiased discussions between the various stakeholders is an absolute necessity. In a few countries, such as Norway and the Netherlands, discussions between retailers, banks, government and controlling instances, have led to higher use of electronic payments and a better understanding of the costs of each payment alternative throughout the value chain. If we do not have a similar debate at European level, this industry risks of becoming more and more controlled and legislated to the point that neither the necessary investments nor the financial rewards will be safeguarded. Payments as an industry should not become a commodity!

The second day of the MPE conference, started with a number of solid presentations around fraud and security issues. Impressive as the content of the presentations was, it still felt as if this is an ongoing ‘chase’ whereby organized crime has more means than the industry. As the fight continues, the overall costs of the actual fraud , the missed business for the retailers and the costs at each point in the chain (retailers, PSP’s, processors, payment schemes, call centers, software developers, etc…) is growing and staggering. I wonder what we can do to bring this overall cost down? What mobile and NFC will do to the business case? Actually, it is most likely that these only add up to the costs and the business case becomes as elusive as it was for smart cards in the nineties.

Later on in the day, we were presented an interesting development made by the EBA. Technically a very logical solution which should allow customers of the banks to link into their current account for payments on the internet. At national level similar solutions have proven to be successful and loved by the end customer. It is not a guarantee though that the same customers will also want to use a similar solution for their international payments and, most importantly, it also needs a business case approach! This being said, no doubt that, if well executed, such a product concept could bring down fraud levels and costs. I wonder why none of the schemes is coming up with a solution: they know how to support banks in creating a new and meaningful product and have all the scheme knowledge available. It is only about adding a layer of technology to already existing infrastructure and develop the necessary scheme rules.

I was most intrigued by the presentations around ‘social media’. On the one hand, it shows how the consumer of today is willing to share his whereabouts through all sorts of applications, yet on the other hand this is hardly aligned with our genuine desire for privacy. Some of these developments may not be ‘mainstream’ today, but they clearly show the disaggregation of the industry and the fact in future even more than now, it is impossible for anyone to control the whole value chain. The last part of the conference around payment strategies for e-payment illustrated what various players, such as banks, technology providers, retail customers, airlines, expect and/or are doing to further develop the market. It shows that exponential growth in e-payments is definitely expected, that there are lots of opportunities to improve today’s services and service levels and that the role of technology remains important but is only one aspect of how to ensure that the demands of the retailer (any retailer) and the customers are met.

All in all, a most interesting day, illustrating the challenges and opportunities of an ever exciting industry.

Chris De Smet
Chairman of the second conference day

Summary of Conference Day 3 by Annich McIntosh, Chief Editor, C&M Publications


As managing editor of C&M Publications, Annich McIntosh has a high profile within the card, marketing and financial business sectors. She is a frequent speaker and chair at major industry conferences. Annich is a judge of a number of industry awards and is invited to attend all the relevant major conferences worldwide. She has direct access to all the leading players. Annich is a daily newspaper trained journalist, having worked in various capacities, including features editor before moving on to the focussed world of international business titles. About the C&M Publications titles: Card World is a global publication supporting both the issuing and acquiring communities. As well as cards, the remit covers all transaction types, including mobile and electronic payment. All business sectors including identity, transit and loyalty are covered, together with regulation and legal issues, customer facing initiatives, marketing and customer insight. Card World reports on all the major emerging technologies and the innovative companies leading the field. Card World is published 11 times a year, and is supported with an online daily news and feature service at Fraud Watch, the newsletter reporting on financial fraud and anti-money laundering initiatives, online security and compliance can be found at: Loyalty Magazine, the online resource for those involved in customer insight and retention issues can be found at

„It has been a great day. There is obviously confusion there have been probably more questions raised than answered. At least you know what the questions are now.

All we got to do is figure out how to find a way through the maze and make some money. At least by seeing the presentations over the last 3 days in a core key conference, that you know the contact and you know who to get in touch for help and advice. Thank you four your company, I enjoyed it enormously. Thank you to the organizers. And I will see you all again next year. “

Annich McIntosh
Chairman of the third conference day


MPE 2012 Testimonials

„As usual, MPE is a great place to learn and discuss challenges and trends of the payment industry.“ 
Marketing and Development Deputy Director, Natixis


„THE must attend event for merchant payments in Europe.“
Cards and Retail, International Programme Manager, VocaLink


„Very well organised, well attended, excellent venue.“ 
Co-Founder & CEO, Handpoint


“Great networking experience with all our business partners in 1 location for 3 days.”
Director Business Relationship Consulting, American Express 

„Three days packed with sessions on the state of the art in universal commerce.” 
Business Change Manager, Rabobank


„Great organization, good choice of discussions.” 
Chief Technical Officer, Asseco SEE       

„Excellent quality in terms of speakers, exhibitors and delegates.” 
Solutions Consultant, ACI Worldwide       

„Excellent opportunity to network with key decision makers and high end expertise.” 
Marketing and Payments Market Sector Manager, BP       

„I have an unreservedly positive opinion and consider MPE one of the best conferences in payments space.” 
Regional Sales Director Europe, Compass Plus       

„YES! Overall great experience and learnings, and great job pulling it all together.” 
Director Planning, Elavon       

„MPE 2012 was an excellent networking opportunity for payment professionals. It helps market players to articulate their issues and exchange best practices accross the industry.” 
Managing Director, Escalion       

„An excellent forum of utstanding experts in this field of business!” 
Managing Director, First Data Deutschland       

„This was a very interesting opportunity for everyone involved in the payments space in europe to meet - thought leaders and competitiors.” 
Managing Director, First Data Polska & Regional Director, Poland, Austria, TeleCash in Germany, First Data   

„The Merchants Payments Ecosystem is where it all happens! All the important issues and anyone who is important is at this event!” 
Vice President Sales, Northern Leasing

„Great experience, very helpfull.” 
Business Development Manager, RBK Money

„Very intensive, but good food for thoughts.” 
Strategy and Consulting Manager, SiNSYS

„If you want see most up-to-date trends in NFC or to chat with most important people in merchant acquiring business, go for MPE 2013.” 
Head of Card Product Department, Slovenska Sporitelna

„My first time attending. Extremely useful event and strongly consider attending again next year.” 
Head of Acceptance, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Visa Worldwide

„Rich and various topics.” 
Head of Acquiring Product Development, Credit Agricole


your VOICE at MPE enhances...

the space for a pan-European discussion, reaching the highest level and standards, enabling the exchange of views and confrontation of different perspectives. The MPE is an excellent meeting ground for both knowledge and business seeking organizations active in payment acceptance market. The meeting represents one of the most respected payment-related events with excellent media coverage. Our speakers are regularly cited in professional articles and important topical event outcomes serve as source material for prestigious world and European magazines. Important ideas impacting the entire payment acceptance industry as well as strategic company announcements are often presented at the Forum.

our CARE for CONTENT providing...

an unbiased look at the payment industry. For the 6th consecutive year, the MPE platform (former ECAF), represents a truly independent senior-level networking platform putting together community of payment professionals from Europe and beyond. The meeting only provides indifferent and undistorted information, mirroring the actual happening within the payment area and has so far attracted more than 1.400 senior payment professionals.

more CONSISTENCY in TOPICS ensuring...

MPE‘s yearly progress in delivering more comprehensive program addressing strategic and day-to-day issues of the entire payment acceptance value chain. From legal framework development and strategic planning to commercial utilization and operational realization, the event strives to cover all relevant business aspects.

The Empiria team