The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a project to harmonise the way we make and process retail payments in euro. The goal is to make payments in euro and across Europe as fast, safe and efficient as national payments are today. SEPA enables customers to make cashless euro payments to anyone located anywhere in Europe, for example by credit transfer, direct debit or debit card. About SEPA, presentation "SEPA in a nutshell"
The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative aims to overcome technical, legal and market barriers between countries in order to create a single market for retail payments in euro. The SEPA territory consists of 34 European countries and also includes countries which are not part of the euro area and the European Union. SEPA countries
The SEPA project was launched by the European banking and payments industry and is supported by EU governments, the European Commission, the Eurosystem, and other public authorities (Stakeholders). Agreed standards, technical requirements, and a common legal basis are the foundation for payments within the SEPA area, irrespective of the countries involved in the transaction. Features
|SEPA indicators at a glance (euro area)|
|SEPA credit transfers as % of total transactions||99.4 % (*)|
|SEPA direct debit as % of total transactions||99.9 % (*)|
|EMV transactions as % of total transactions at POS terminals||78.6 % (**)|
|(*) August 2014, (**) December 2014|
Two new SEPA instruments were introduced in 2008 (SEPA credit transfer) and 2009 (SEPA direct debit). EU Regulation No 260/2012 establishes the technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro. The regulation is also referred to as the “SEPA end-date regulation” and defines the deadlines for the migration to the new SEPA instruments. The deadline for the euro area is 1 February 2014 and for non-euro area Member States 31 October 2016. As of these dates, the existing national euro credit transfer and direct debit schemes will be replaced. A proposal amending the SEPA end-date regulation introduces a further transition period of six months that can be applied in euro area countries.