SEPA (Single European Payment Area)

The Single European Payment Area (SEPA) is an initiative by the European Union that attempts to unify payments and collections from and to euro-denominated accounts within the participating countries. This makes it faster more reliable and safer to make payments and collections from euro denominated accounts by defining sets of rules and standards for executing of payments and transactions within the SEPA payment area. This means that there is now a guarantee for the time it takes to receive a payment as well as no charge being taken for those payments.

What is SEPA?

There are two main features of this scheme that have been launched in November of 2009 and these are the SEPA Direct Debit Core Scheme (SDD Core) and the SEPA Direct Debit Business to Business Scheme (SDD B2B).

While SEPA can be used to transfer funds domestically, it was designed with the intent to make cross border transactions easier and so, for domestic purposes, it is recommended to use the national Direct Debit schemes as for example in the UK the Direct Debit Scheme has more benefits than SEPA.

There are a few benefits that come along with the new SEPA scheme as well:

  • Ability to collect domestic and cross border payments through SEPA
  • Ability to determine the exact date of collection
  • Payment completion within a pre-determined time cycle resulting in reliable cash flow
  • Straight forward reconciliation of payments received
  • Ability to automate exception handling (refunds, returns, rejects)
  • Simple and secure means of paying bills throughout SEPA
  • Easy reconciliation of debits on account statements
  • Faster payments, so payers avoid dealing with the consequences of late payments

As of the end of 2010 all of the payment infrastructures and processors are required to be accessible cross-border through the SEPA Scheme.

On 31 October 2016, payment service providers in non-euro countries will only be able to collect euro-denominated payments using SEPA.

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Croatia
  5. Cyprus
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Denmark
  8. Estonia
  9. Finland
  10. Åland islands

  1. France incl. oversea territories of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, Saint Barthélemy, French part of Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  2. Germany
  3. Greece
  4. Hungary
  5. Iceland
  6. Ireland
  7. Italy
  8. Latvia
  9. Liechtenstein
  10. Lithuania
  11. Luxembourg
  12. Malta
  13. Monaco
  14. Netherlands
  15. Norway
  1. Poland
  2. Portugal (incl.
  3. Azores
  4. Madeira)
  5. Romania
  6. San Marino
  7. Slovakia
  8. Slovenia
  9. Spain incl.
  10. (Canary Islands)
  11. Sweden
  12. Switzerland
  13. United Kingdom (incl.
  14. Gibraltar and as of 01/05/16
  15. Guernsey
  16. Jersey
  17. Isle of Man)
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