Processing digital euro payments will be free, and the electronic version of the currency itself will be publicly available, Fabio Panetta, a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Executive Board, said yesterday. The agency does not want to compete with commercial banks and collect personal data from owners of digital euros.
Digital currency is the official means of payment of the central bank along with cash and is therefore considered to be more secure than a deposit at a commercial bank. The ECB believes that the main functions of the digital euro, and especially transactions and cash payments, should be free.
Commercial banks sometimes express concerns that their services may become redundant with the advent of digital currencies, but the ECB has no intention of opening accounts for individuals or offering them traditional banking services such as automatic debiting of regular payments for rent or utilities. For this work, they are sure in the department, subordinate intermediaries are needed who are already in direct contact with the consumers – the commercial banks. The ECB will provide them with the tools to integrate the digital euro into their platforms or release their own application for offline payments, but it will only get basic functionality.
Finally, with a view to ensuring confidentiality, the ECB does not seek targeted access to citizens’ personal data, but full anonymity is also unacceptable from an anti-money laundering perspective. The legislator is therefore now working on possible options. The timing of the launch of the digital euro is yet to be determined – the central bank is still considering aspects of its launch.