SEPA means Single European Payments Area. It includes all countries within the Eurozone. As of March 2012, SEPA comprised 27 EU member states, the 4 members of the EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), and Monaco.
The project’s primary aim is to improve the efficiency of cross border payments and turn the fragmented national markets for euro payments into a single domestic one. SEPA will enable customers to make cashless euro payments to anyone located anywhere in the area, using a single bank account and a single set of payment instruments.
Other benefits to SEPA customers:
- Standardisation of euro payments: equal time limits, equal fraud-risk levels, equal processes, all-electronic straight through processing, no difference between national and international payments in the SEPA area; strengthening trust and reliability on a pan-European basis.
- Reduction of costs of electronic money and payment transactions through competition on the part of payment providers and banks.
- Reduction of cash and increase of electronic money through reduction of electronic-money costs.
- Increasing surveillance of electronic money flow, particularly regarding money laundering and fraud prevention.
The SEPA or EuroZone coverage
- SEPA now comprises:
- All 27 European Union member states, including the 10 states that are not in the Eurozone
- The four European Free Trade Association member states
- Croatia will join the SEPA later after becoming a member of the European Union on 1 July 2013.
All parts of a country are normally part of SEPA, whether or not the regions are part of the European Union.
The following countries have dependent territories that are not part of SEPA:
- Cyprus: Only areas controlled by the Republic of Cyprus are included; other areas claimed by the Republic of Cyprus are exempted from EU law.
- France: Everything except French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and French Southern and Antarctic Lands is included.
- The Netherlands: Only the European parts are included; the Caribbean islands are excluded.
- The United Kingdom: Includes Gibraltar, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (which use UK sort codes).
A few countries (and areas) using the euro are not included: Andorra, Kosovo, Montenegro, San Marino, the Sovereign Base Areas, and the Vatican City State.
- 2011–SEPA replaced national payments in EuroZone
- 1st February 2014–SEPA migration deadline for SEPA credit transfer and SEPA direct debit within the euro area; no BIC (business identifier code) to be required for national payments.
- 31st October 2016–SEPA credit transfer and SEPA direct debit deadline for non-euro area countries.
Will SEPA affect me?
You will be required by law to make Euro payments in a SEPA compliant format by February 2014 if you currently pay your suppliers in Euro within the SEPA Eurozone.
IF you have a requirement for international, local, and Euro payments (or any combination)–please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with details of which banks you use and which countries you need to make payments to. We will be happy to help.