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Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

Thanks to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), customers can now make cashless euro payments – via credit transfer and direct debit – to anywhere in the European Union, as well as a number of non-EU countries, in a fast, safe and efficient way, just like national payments. SEPA was introduced for credit transfers in 2008, followed by direct debits in 2009, and fully implemented by 2014 in the euro area (and by 2016 in non-euro area SEPA countries).

The payment integration triggered by SEPA has contributed to the efficiency and competitiveness of the European economy as a whole by eliminating differences between national and cross-border payments by harmonising standards in all the participating countries. The legal framework for SEPA – which the ECB helped to draw up in close cooperation with the European Commission – is based mainly on the Cross-border payments regulation, the Payment Services Directive (PSD/PSD2), the SEPA migration end-date Regulation, and the Interchange Fee Regulation.

SEPA was launched by the European banking and payments industry with the support of national governments, the European Commission, the Eurosystem, and other public authorities. As SEPA not only harmonised the way non-cash euro payments are conducted, but also completed the introduction of the euro as the single currency, the Eurosystem had a very strong interest in the success of the SEPA project.

Participation

The SEPA region consists of 36 European countries, including several countries which are not part of the euro area or the European Union (status: 30 October 2020).

Interactive map of countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

Please select a country

Austria

EU member using the euro

EU member since 1995

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Belgium

EU member using the euro

EU founding member in 1957

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Bulgaria

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 2007

Cyprus

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2008

Czech Republic

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 2004

Germany

EU member using the euro

EU founding member in 1957

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Denmark

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 1973

Estonia

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2011

Spain

EU member using the euro

EU member since 1986

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Finland

EU member using the euro

EU member since 1995

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

France

EU member using the euro

EU founding member in 1957

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Greece

EU member using the euro

EU member since 1981

Euro since 2001 (cash since 2002)

Croatia

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 2013

Hungary

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 2004

Ireland

EU member using the euro

EU member since 1973

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Italy

EU member using the euro

EU founding member in 1957

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Lithuania

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2015

Luxembourg

EU member using the euro

EU founding member in 1957

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Latvia

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2014

Monaco

Non-EU country

Malta

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2008

The Netherlands

EU member using the euro

EU founding member in 1957

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Poland

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 2004

Portugal

EU member using the euro

EU member since 1986

Euro since 1999 (cash since 2002)

Romania

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 2007

Sweden

EU member not using the euro

EU member since 1995

Slovenia

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2007

Slovakia

EU member using the euro

EU member since 2004

Euro since 2009

San Marino

Non-EU country

In addition to the highlighted countries; Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City State / Holy See are also part of SEPA.

Facts & figures

Name Single Euro Payments Area
Implementation year 2014 for euro area countries 2016 for non-euro area SEPA countries
Currency Euro
Cashless payment instruments Credit transfer, direct debit
Speed of processing No longer than one business day for electronic payment orders; two business days for paper-based payment orders
SEPA area 36 countries (includes some non-euro area and non-EU countries) (status: 1 March 2019)
Stakeholders European banking and payments industry, payment service users, national governments, the European Commission, the Eurosystem, and several other public authorities.
The role of the Eurosystem Catalyst

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