SEPA, the Single Euro Payments Area was established in 2002 by the institutions of the European Union (European Payments Council, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of the European Union and European Central Bank). Their objective was to harmonize national and cross-border payment means in the SEPA area for all economic players such as consumers, companies, merchants and administrations.
The SEPA area includes the 28 member countries of the European Union as well as the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Vatican, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
The implementation of SEPA has simplified the management of payments within this area for individuals and companies who now make and receive cross-border payments in euro as easily as domestic payments. In order to guarantee the same payment conditions, rights and obligations for all member countries, procedures have been simplified. Processing costs and bank charges have been reduced as well as processing times.
Today, all companies in the member countries, regardless of their size and business sector, are affected by these measures for all their national and cross-border transactions in the SEPA area, such as SEPA credit transfers and SEPA direct debits.
SEPA credit transfers and SEPA direct debits use the ISO 20022 message standard.
Did you know?
In November 2017, SEPA Instant Payment was introduced to complement the existing range of payment methods. The SEPA Instant Transfer is a payment in euro available 24 hours a day and made in less than 10 seconds, with a maximum ceiling of €100,000 (previously €15,000). Since it is an optional service, banks are not yet obliged to offer this service to their customers, although most of them already do.