As a result of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) all electronic payments in euro will be treated as domestic payments, even if they cross national borders.
What is the Single Euro Payments Area?
SEPA is a collaborative initiative between the EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the European banks in the European Payments Council. SEPA includes all member counties of the EU and EEA as well as Switzerland.
SEPA was launched with a view to creating an integrated payment region in Europe, in which payments in euro are subject to the same standards, regulations and conditions.
What does it mean for your business?
The purpose of SEPA is to strengthen trade and competitiveness in Europe by erasing national differences between payments. As SEPA is implemented you will be able to send payments in euro to other European banks in accordance with a set of common payment regulations. All electronic payments in euro will be treated in the same way as domestic payments.
Payments UK website European Payments Council website - Single Euro Payments Area
What is a SEPA payment?
A SEPA payment is an ordinary payment (not express) in euros to a beneficiary inside SEPA (EU/EEA and Switzerland).
In SEPA, all euro payments are treated as domestic payments, and the current differentiation between national and cross-border payments no longer exists.
What is the SEPA end-date regulation?
On March 2012, the European legislators adopted Regulation No 260/2012, which is known as the SEPA end-date regulation. The regulation lays down rules for the initiation and processing of credit transfers and direct debit transactions in euros within SEPA.
The regulation specifies when these rules must be implemented by the EU member states. For euro countries, the final deadline was 1 February 2014, and for non-euro countries, the deadline is 31 October 2016. As of these dates, existing national euro credit transfer and direct debit schemes must be replaced by SEPA alternatives.
What key changes does the SEPA end-date regulation entail?
- Payment files with payments from the EU/EEA or Switzerland must be submitted in the ISO 20022 XML format
- The beneficiary account must be stated in the IBAN format
- The BIC is no longer required for cross-border payments
What do you have to do?
Please make sure
- that your business system supports the ISO 20022 XML format
- that you have bank account numbers in the IBAN format for vendors in the EU/EEA and Switzerland area
- to update your bank account information for outgoing euro invoices
- to check that your IBAN is stated on your euro invoices and on other documentation (agreements etc.)
- to consider whether you need to change your reconciliation process
- to consider whether you should use SEPA compliance as an opportunity to switch to the ISO 20022 XML format for all payment types
- to check that all invoices sent to you from your business partners contain the IBAN
How are Bankgirot services affected by the SEPA end-date regulation?
From 31 October 2016, Bankgirot will no longer process euro payment instructions in Sweden. Instead, they should be sent directly to the appropriate bank for processing. From the above date, the payments will no longer be registered in Bankgirot’s incoming payments services.
The banks will develop solutions for euro payments that comply with the new EU regulations.
What are your options after the change in the Bankgirot services?
- If you want to continue using EUR for payments, you must use IBAN as your beneficiary’s account number and ISO 20022 XML as your file format.
- If you want to continue using the Bankgirot services, you must use SEK as your transaction currency.