Standard payment procedures from 1 February 2014
SEPA will create a Single Euro Payments Area. The changes will affect everyone, from consumers to businesses and traders.
Despite having a common currency, industry and consumers in the euro area are not yet able to make full use of all the advantages economic and monetary union offers. Thus cross-border payments are difficult, as they frequently require different payment formats and take more time than national payments.
Current procedures will expire next year
This is where SEPA – Single Euro Payments Area – comes in. SEPA will create a payment market for all cashless euro payments, in which there will no longer be a difference between national and cross-border payments. From 1 February 2014, the current national credit transfer and direct debit procedures will expire. Subsequently, all payment service providers in the euro area will only be able to settle payments using the new SEPA procedures.
SEPA for you
In concrete terms this means, for example, that you can pay the costs for a holiday home in another European country, or for deliveries from European mail order firms, by SEPA direct debit. In order to use these payment systems when they become available, you may need to take action now: anyone wishing to collect payments us-ing SEPA direct debit in the future will require a creditor identification number from the Bundesbank. This is important for you if you are a landlord/landlady, for example, or treasurer of an association that collects membership fees by direct debit (see link on the right).