The European Central Bank (ECB) has released its third progress report on the design of the digital euro. The report focuses on access and distribution options, which would prioritize convenience for potential users. Payment service providers (PSPs) would onboard digital euro users using their established procedures, such as Know Your Customer verification. Initially, euro area residents, merchants, and governments would be onboarded, with consumers in the European Economic Area and selected third countries following in later releases. The PSP’s app or an app provided by Eurosystem would provide services, including in-store sales using QR codes or touchless technology, as well as online and offline payments.
Optional and value-added services would also be available, such as split or recurring payments. Conditional payments would be possible, but programmable money would be excluded from consideration. The ECB also conducted a focus group survey of digital wallet features, finding that budget management tools and peer-to-peer, offline and QR code payments were well received, but privacy issues were raised. ECB executive board member Fabio Panetta confirmed that people would have no obligation to use the digital euro, but merchants that accept digital payments should be obliged to accept the digital euro as legal tender.