The idea behind SEPA, the Single Euro Payments Area, is to make it easier for citizens, companies and other economic entities to move capital across national borders. Through SEPA, the purpose is to be able to send and receive euro payments in the same way and on the same conditions as in one's own country.
SEPA's meaning in brief
- A common European standard for euro payments
- That there should be no difference between national and international euro payments in Europe
- That a common European range of payment instruments should be created through the rules for account transfers and direct debit payments and the framework for card payments
Both SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) are based on standards that have been agreed in EPC, the European Payments Council.
That all euro payments for countries within the eurozone should SCT and SDD be adapted to SEPA by August 2014. For countries outside the eurozone, the final date for services that handle euros was set to October 2016. This meant that Swedish banks had to adapt their euro payments in accordance with SCT and SDD. SEPA includes all 28 EU member countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Switzerland.
The latest addition to SEPA is the real-time payments in euro, SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst), which came into force in November 2017.
SEPA in Sweden
The Swedish Bankers' Association is coordinating the Swedish banking market's adaptation to SEPA. This is done through coordination of the Swedish participation in EPC and direct contact with both international authorities such as the European Commission and with the Swedish Ministry of Finance and the Swedish authorities.
SEPA and Bankgirot
Even though the existing payment infrastructure is effective, a number of changes and driving forces are occurring that have led Bankgirot to initiate a comprehensive programme of work so as to be able to design Bankgirot's future payment infrastructure. SEPA and the changes that are occurring in Europe are strong contributory factors in this.
SEPA is run by several bodies
- European banks and banking associations have formed the European Payments Council (EPC)
- The European Central Bank (ECB), and Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB)
- The European Commission