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Content tagged 'European Union'

September 20, 2013
By Frederic Portal, Ataway Director of Strategy and Alliance

More than a decade ago, the European Union launched an initiative to simplify bank transfers in euros.

The project's aim is to improve the efficiency of cross-border payments and turn the fragmented national markets for euro payments into a single domestic one. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) will enable organizations to make euro payments to anyone located anywhere in the SEPA area, using a single bank account and a single set of payment instruments.

The SEPA project focuses on three payment instruments: credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards. The European Payments Council (EPC) has developed payment schemes for credit transfers and direct debits. These schemes are defined in rulebooks that cover the rules, practices and standards applicable to SEPA payment instruments.

SEPA includes common financial instruments, standards, procedures, and infrastructure to enable economies of scale. This should, in turn, reduce the overall cost to the European economy of moving capital around the region (estimated as two to three percent of total GDP).

SEPA is entering its final migration phase for two SEPA payment instruments:

  • • By February 1, 2014, all retail CT and DD in the euro area need to fulfill SEPA requirements. (Regulation 260/2012)
  • • Niche products with specific characteristics transition phase until February 1, 2016.
  • • For EU member states with currencies other than the euro, the respective end-date is October 31, 2016 for all credit transfers and direct debits in euro.

Within less than six months, organizations must have systems in place to participate in the unified European payments market. But many organizations still aren’t ready for the changes. How can your organization get prepared?

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