The European Commission said Monday that, concerned by the lack of take-up by the payments industry, it may set a formal deadline for banks to migrate their payments systems to a single European payments platform.

The commission said a deadline would give "a strong incentive" for both industry and users to speed up migration to a payments system whereby settling bills and transferring money should be as easy across European borders as it is within a single country.

The Single Euro Payments Area project is a voluntary exercise by the banking and finance industry to create a single payments system. However, the slow pace has worried the commission, which thinks a speedier approach would bring efficiency benefits.