MPE 2021 / 22-25 Feb 2021

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ECAF 2011 summary

Brief information

ECAF 2011 saw another increase in both the number of attendees and speakers as well as the topics that were discussed among all participating merchants, acquirers, processors, MNO‘s, experts and schemes...

Event in numbers
  • Attendees: 349
  • Speakers: 58
  • Sponsors: 19
  • Exhibitors: 20


ECAF 2011 saw another increase in both the number of attendees and speakers as well as the topics that were discussed among all participating merchants, acquirers, processors, MNO‘s, experts and schemes...

349 senior payment professionals with focus on card acquiring met in Berlin in 2011, going through their daily operative issues as well as strategic decisions impacting the entire value chain.

The event also hosted the socond annual ECAF Awards Ceremony, rewarding the best performers and innovators. More than 30 companies took part in this prestigious contest but there were only 10 winners, one per each award category.

The event‘s importance for the industry as well as the outcomes of several of the presentations delivered at ECAF 2011 were documented in materials from leading industry magaiznes: Payments Cards and Mobile and Retail Banking Research, with whose permissions we attach them for your review.

The team of Empiria.

Chairmen summaries

Remarks on Conference Day 1 by Leon Dhaene, Chairman, N2Finance

Leon Dhaene has over 26 years of senior management experience in cards and payments, global account management, business development and sales, acquisitions-mergers-joint ventures, performance optimisation and services development, at multinational corporations like MasterCard International (2001-2004), Europay International (1992-2001), Eurocard International (1989-1992) and IBM (1985-1989). As of 2004, Leon created his own consulting practice, called Network of Alliances, Outsourcing and Mergers Experts, and is Chairman of n2euro, a European network of experts in 10 European countries. He has been leading business strategic projects in the global financial & leasing, social services management, environmental and identity control sector; and business development activities in Europe for enterprise software and financial services companies. Leon has conducted major projects in the area of cards and payments, call center technology and management, e-invoicing, fleet and petrol cards, e-commerce, archiving and electronic document management, and SEPA /PSD (SEPA assessments, SCF, SDD, SCT). Leon Dhaene is regularly consulted by capital venture companies as an Analyst Expert. As a leading global card specialist, Leon has been involved in launching several innovative products globally, amongst which the launch of Maestro, an international debit card with over 800 million cardholders worldwide, in 1993 is the most known.


„Ladies and Gentlemen, Whilst everyone recognises the huge work done by the regulator, in particular by the European Payment Council, over the last couple of years, a lot of work still needs to be done.

We hear card acquirers and merchants to call for a single format, standard, and procedures, as well in transaction processing as in security. The last thing one would want to see is a repeat of proprietary standards, like a SEPA German flavour or a SEPA à la française.

Unbundling is the core of the new regulation : the service layer (issuer and acquirer), the scheme layer and the processing layer are disconnected now. Visa does not any longer own a 4-BIN card, but the issuer. MasterCard cannot any longer mandate an international transaction on a 5-BIN card to go over their network, using their processing services. And I’m not picking on a particular scheme, just two examples. Nothing prevents a European issuer to co-brand their payment card, I stress “their payment card”, with say the VISA-MONNET option or the PayFair-MasterCard brands.

Unbundling also on the acceptance side. Merchants cannot any longer be mandated to accept debit and credit, MasterCard and VISA, standard and premium cards, nor any product which have a different pricing, different brand, or different operating procedures. The day is near that a platinum or commercial card has less acceptance as a standard credit card. A major challenge for issuers.

Retailers are looking to reduce costs and be more effective in card payment transactions, and acquirers can help them by ensuring transparency in pricing and operating procedures, and providing assistance in implementing the security requirements. Retailers want to recoup on their investments in security. If interchange rates are partly there to cover the costs of risk and fraud, then increased security should reduce those. If retailers invest in security, should acquirers, issuers, and schemes not follow-up with improved risk management and detection tools, of which the rule-based model exists since more than 15 years.

Converging on the acquirer and processor side is the call of the day. As a processor and a payment scheme, the critical mass ratio is around 10 billion transactions. As an acquirer, you need to be able to offer a wide range of services and support to your merchants. Anything which is proprietary or below those volumes is doomed to be ineffective and expensive.“

Leon Dhaene
Chairman of the first conference day

Remarks on Conference Day 2 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


„Annich started with few outcomes having first in mind:

  • Nitzan Tal (Verifone) comments that NFC changes the POS paradigm because it is not just about payments, it is about coupons, communication ...
  • Who owns what is becoming less important if we can rent, share, cooperate and she thinks that it is the NFC that we will be rolling out and talking about next year
  • There are those elephants who do not know how they are going to move and deal with NFC payments.
  • Amrish Rau, MD, ICICI Merchant Services gave us a fascinating insight into India and the challenge of achieving financial inclusion, which is an important issue for such a large area...
  • Janet Langenderfer (AMTRAK) from the US described the latest regulatory activities from the US having impact on interchange fee, recent discussion over there, situation with VISA and MasterCard.

Annich concluded that what happened in America tends to happen in another market and called the audience to watch that with caution...

  • Alan Moss made a very strong argument for the need for convertibility of card payment protocols in all markets...
  • Colin Whittaker from VISA delivered a very optimistic and enthusiastic message by speaking about protecting cardholder data and managing risk by implementing PCI DSS, encryption and tokenization

In the second half of the day, the focus was on PCI-DSS, with three presentations from vendors and acquirers, and then on fraud management using databases, rules and neural engines.

Annich then closed the first half-day with highlighting the opportunities that we have got in the industry “

Annich McIntosh
Chairman of the second conference day

Remarks on Conference Day 3 by Chris De Smet, MD, De Smet Consulting

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.


"The third day of the conference allowed us to spend time on what matters most: ensuring that the customer proposition has a sexy appeal with focus on the top line growth. The built up of the day was such that our first three speakers gave an update about how their ‘conventional’ markets were gradually evolving from old school monopoly to a more open environment with new players and new ideas being implemented. The three banks that elaborated on their respective markets also showed a European wide interest from banks for the acquiring market. They are each convinced that they have what it takes to respond to the demands of their merchant-customers, albeit that the largest retailers cannot yet hope for a European one stop shop.

Our second set of speakers talked about loyalty and CRM, a word that has some negative connotation due to the many flaws in implementing technology that promised to deal with the ‘one customer’. However, in the case of our speakers, each in a very different way proved how serious they are about their customer focus, about providing real and tangible advantages to their customer base and in doing so, ensuring that the proposition is sticky. Their initiatives are not the standard loyalty program, but initiatives that trigger interest and look very promising. With the regulators continuing to put pressure on the business case, the loyalty proposition has even more value in order to grow the business (and no, one cannot shrink to greatness!).

Finally, in the third and last session of the day and last session of the conference, the audience was confronted with ‘out of the box’ thinking from players that often were not around (or not that prominent) ten years ago, but now are amongst the biggest in their markets. Whereas the appetizer gave us insight in how the PSP and acquiring markets in Europe are on a convergence and consolidation course, the next speakers were confrontational for the established players: they showed that new players are capable of implementing business models and customer propositions that banks cannot possibly copy and certainly cannot match in the same time frame. It is all about filling the gap that is wide open for E-payments, M-payments and developments that are not about card but about providing a hard to match customer experience.

And although Barclays informed us about their international expansion plans, Badoo confronted us again with the fact that a large international company still does not have the possibility to one stop shop for all of their acquiring business.

As a final remark, if there is one thing I learnt during this day (and the whole conference), then it is that our old school acquiring environment will be gone sooner than later: there are too many initiatives out there that will undoubtedly balance the industry and this will happen in the next three to five years through a combination of technology and clever marketing. Whoever are the dinosaurs, they better prepare to adapt or disappear."

Chris De Smet
Chairman of the third conference day


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