Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
What is SEPA?
The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a European Union (EU) integration initiative pursued by the EU institutions. These are the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU representing EU governments and the European Central Bank. When the EU institutions first launched the SEPA process, they expected the banking industry to contribute the resources required to develop European instruments for electronic euro payments. In response to these expectations, the European banking sector created the European Payments Council (EPC) in 2002. In close dialogue with the stakeholder community, the EPC developed, among other things, the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) Schemes. The EPC, (which is not part of the EU institutional framework), carries out the scheme management function subject to legal and regulatory conditions defined by the EU authorities.
The SEPA specifications on MyStandards
The SEPA specific guidelines, SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD), are published on the MyStandards platform (Login on the system is required in order to asset the Usage Guidelines), MyStandards user can get access to those specifications as they are publicly available. Premium users are enabled to reuse them and define their own flavor of the SEPA Usage Guidelines on the platform.
SEPA benefits, first and foremost, bank customers including consumers, businesses and public administrations. Once SEPA is achieved, it will be possible to exchange euro payments between any accounts within SEPA as easily as it is within national borders today.
Banks will have opportunities to develop innovative products, enter new markets and win new customers as well as increase the efficiency of back office processes.
The implementation of innovative and competitive SEPA payment services translates into efficiency gains for businesses and public administrations. Common standards, faster settlement and simplified processing will improve cash flow, reduce costs and facilitate access to new markets. Consumers can rely on a single set of euro payment instruments throughout SEPA: one bank account, one bank card, one SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and one SEPA Direct Debit (SDD). Moreover, customers will enjoy benefits resulting from increased competition in the payments market.