What is SEPA?
The aim of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is to eliminate differences with the execution of euro domestic payments and cross-border payments in terms of the European Union and the European Economic Area. Consumers, enterprises, merchants and public sector will be able to execute euro payments and collections within this area as simply, fast and cheep as domestic payments. All euro domestic payments will become SEPA payments as of 1 February 2014.
Which payment instruments does SEPA harmonise?
SEPA payments (SEPA Credit Transfer)
SEPA collections (SEPA Direct Debit)
SEPA payment cards (SEPA Cards Framework)
SEPA cash (SEPA for Cash)
SEPA for mobile payments (SEPA for mobile)
Instruments that are currently used in individual countries of the SEPA area will be gradually replaced by SEPA payment instruments.
Replacement of initial domestic payments and collections by SEPA instruments - SEPA payments and SEPA direct debits represents a direct effect of SEPA implementation in the SR. 1 February 2014 has been determined as a legislative milestone for this transition.
List of countries covered by SEPA:
|Euro currency countries in the EU|
|Non-euro currency countries of the EU|
|Hungary|| United Kingdom
|The EEA countries outside the EU|
|Countries outside the EEA|
SEPA distinctly affects all payment system participants. It increases the competition and brings along new opportunities and challenges; removes barriers and differences between domestic payments and foreign payments in the SEPA area.
What are SEPA contributions?
- Bank connection: IBAN (International Bank Account Number) becomes the only account and bank identifier for SEPA payments. It will gradually replace in full extent domestic bank connection (BBAN) and bank code (bank BIC/SWIFT code).
- One account only: Only one bank account for sending or receiving euro payments within the SEPA area as simply as with domestic payments will be sufficient for citizens and enterprises from the SEPA countries.
- Simple payment processing: As all incoming and outgoing payments have equal format, their processing is simpler (universal message standards, ISO 20022).
- Innovative products and services: Banks from SEPA countries continuously develop and use innovative products and services linked especially to electronic environment.
- Faster process of payment clearing: Payment beneficiary is credited the payment on the next working day after the payer´s bank received the payment order.
- More effective utilisation of payment cards: As payment cards are universal payment means used for execution of payments via payment terminals wherever in the SEPA area, utilisation thereof is even more effective.
- More effective provision of cross-border services in the field of cash payment system in SEPA countries.
- Implementation of the system that enables receiving and sending payments by means of a mobile telephone within SEPA.
What is a SEPA payment?
SEPA payment is a euro cashless payment within the SEPA area. A payment order is submitted by the payer. SEPA payments are credited to accounts of beneficiaries on the next banking working day after being debited from accounts of payers (D+1), just like it is today with domestic payments.
What changes does SEPA payment bring?
- IBAN: (International Bank Account Number) is used for the purpose of unambiguous identification of the payment account, which will gradually replace in full extent a domestic account number (BBAN):
- As of 1 February 2014 until 31 January 2016 it will be possible to already specify IBAN, or BBAN with payments within the SR. IBAN is a mandatory account format for sending payments outside the SR, within the SEPA area.
- As of 1 February 2016 IBAN will be the only account number identifier in all SEPA area countries, i.e. also within the SR."
- BIC: So-called BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is used for the purpose of an unambiguous identification of the bank where the account of the beneficiary/payer is maintained. With regard to the fact that IBAN contains also data about the bank of the beneficiary/payer, BIC will gradually become a non-mandatory data for payment orders within the SEPA area. It will remain mandatory only in the bank-to-bank payment system.
- As of 1 February 2014 until 31 January 2016 BIC will be mandatory only for payments within the SEPA area; with payments within the SR it will be possible to use a 4-digit numeric bank code.
- BIC will be used only for the payment system outside the SEPA area as of 1 February 2016.
- "Payer reference" field can be used by the payer for more detailed payment identification. This purpose is currently ensured by payment symbols (variable, specific and constant symbol). In terms of the gradual transition to the SEPA standard banks in the SR have decided to preserve utilisation of payment symbols. They will be transferred in the "Payer reference" field in terms of the arranged rules. Example of payer reference: /VS1234567890/SS9876543210/KS1234.
- A new XML format based on ISO20022 standard has been added for the purpose of import of payment orders and export of electronic statements.
SEPA direct debits
What is a SEPA direct debit?
SEPA direct debit is a cashless payment executed in euro within the SEPA area. The payment order is submitted by the payment beneficiary. The payer grants their consent to the direct debit, i.e. mandate, directly to the payment beneficiary.
What changes does SEPA direct debit bring?
- Mandate for SEPA direct debit is a paper or an electronic consent of the payer to debit his/her account by means of a SEPA direct debit. The payer grants the mandate directly to the SEPA direct debit beneficiary. The direct debit beneficiary is obligated to file the mandate.
Initial collection authorisations registered with Slovak banks (concluded prior to 1 February 2014) are legally valid even after the SEPA direct debit implementation therefore payers do not need to sign beneficiaries new mandates.
- Beneficiary identifier (CID - Creditor identifier) is an unambiguous SEPA direct debit beneficiary identifier. It allows payers and banks of payers verify every SEPA direct debit and process or reject the direct debit in terms of the payer´s requirement.
- Mandate reference (UMR - Unique Mandate Reference) identifies every single mandate signed by the payer in favour of the particular SEPA direct debit beneficiary. This number must be unique for every mandate combined with the beneficiary identifier (CID).
- Time limits: SEPA direct debit beneficiary sends a payment order by means of his/her bank in pre-defined time periods valid for the respective scheme. Banks execute clearing on accounts of the beneficiary and the payer on the direct debit maturity date.
- Submission of payment orders for SEPA direct debit: initial format for sending collection advices (HD32) is replaced by a new XML standard according to ISO20022. The bank provides an electronic system entitled Multicash for sending payment orders to SEPA direct debit.
- Direct debit repetition terminates in case of insufficient coverage on payer´s account.
- The payer can: set the maximum sum of one or all payments, refuse next direct debit, set the mandate validity period, block any direct debits from one or more specified beneficiaries (list of undesired beneficiaries), ask for payment refund.
What is a SEPA payment card?
SEPA payment card is a universal card that is usable and accepted equally in all SEPA area countries, e.g. VISA cards or MasterCards.
What are the main features of SEPA payment cards?
- EMV (Europay, MasterCard, VISA) standard for payment cards and payment terminals,
- Recommended technology CHIP&PIN.
Tatra banka currently issues only chip debit payment cards.
What are the contributions of SEPA payment cards?
- availability within the entire SEPA area,
- security - payment cards have an integrated chip that stores payment card data in the safest way. PIN code is preferentially used for card holder identification upon a card payment.