SEPA Payments

What can you expect?

SEPA has transformed the euro payments area into a borderless one. It impacts cross-border payments within Europe, and almost all payment procedures are handled as national procedures.

How does it work?

What’s in it for you?

  • Rationalize banks and bank accounts
  • Simplify Cash Management structures, reducing costs and complexity
  • Shorter settlement times
  • Standardize communication formats by using XML ISO 20022-based ones
  • Manage days payables outstanding more effectively, improving working capital
  • Improve cash flow forecasting and reduce working capital requirements
  • Make strategic use of surplus cash flow
  • Simplified means and paying bills
  • Fast and simple refund procedure
  • Payment completion within predetermined time cycle
  • Straightforward reconciliation of received payments

The SEPA History

SEPA was implemented in 2008 for credit transfers. In 2009, the services were extended to direct debits, further evolving SEPA toward its actual performance.

October 2016
Reachability for SEPA credit transfer and SEPA direct debit core in non-EUR countries. EU payment service providers in non-EUR countries must adhere to the specific requirements.

February 2014
The effective date for SEPA compliance for corporate clients was August 1, 2014.
Technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits (EUR countries, national transitional periods) are still possible.

April 2012
“EU price regulation” changed and the EUR 50,000 threshold was eliminated.
Reachability for SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Core in EUR countries.

SEPA Payment Instruments

The SEPA direct debit (SDD) will replace today’s many different national direct debit schemes with Core/Core1 and B2B
  • Requires a mandate (the debtor authorizes the creditor to collect a payment). The mandate’s data are forwarded along with the transaction
  • Each creditor owns a single and unique identification number (creditor identifier)
  • Payments are only made in EUR
  • The debtor’s account is debited on the payment’s due date
  • The debtor must be informed of the debit and relative due date at least four calendar days in advance (pre-notification)
  • Submission of first- or one-off SDD must be forwarded from the creditor’s bank at least five calendar days before the due date. Submission of the recurrent SDD must be at least two calendar days before the due date
  • The debtor can refund an authorized SDD up to eight weeks after the debit/due date; in the case of an unauthorized SDD, up to 13 months
  • The debtor’s bank must not check the mandate
SEPA business direct debit (B2B) – differences from the SDD core
  • Collections are only between non-consumers/corporates
  • Refunds for debtors are only for unauthorized collections
  • Return must be made within two calendar days after the due date by the debtor’s bank
  • The mandate must be a separate B2B mandate
  • Submission of first, one-off, and recurrent B2B SDD shall not be later than one calendar day before the due date
  • The debtor’s bank must check the B2B mandate

The original amount is forwarded without any deduction; charges and fees are billed separately (the originator and the beneficiary share the costs). The amount must be credited to the beneficiary’s account within one business day. Harmonized standards and formats simplify order-placing and automation, and also for returned payments.


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Additional information